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Restaurant, two gift stores destroyed in Grand Marais fire

The Crooked Spoon Cafe is among the destroyed businesses.
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Three businesses in downtown Grand Marais were destroyed in a fire on Monday.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the three commercial units housing the Crooked Spoon Cafe, Picnic & Pine, and White Pine North on Wisconsin Street were total losses in the afternoon blaze.

The fire is believed to have started in the back of the Crooked Spoon, one of the highest rated restaurants in the North Shore resort town, and spread to the neighboring gift stores.

High winds made the fire difficult to contain, with power cut to the area and a backhoe deployed to help knock the fire down.

As of just after 5 p.m. Monday, fire crews had gotten the blaze under the control, with the Minnesota Fire Marshal dispatched to investigate the cause.

"I commend the swift actions of our fire departments, the City PUC and all emergency personnel involved to contain this major fire under very difficult conditions and circumstances,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen.

"This is a devastating loss for our community and certainly the business owners. Thankfully nobody was injured during the fire."

"Thank you to the fire fighters that tried to save it. My heart hurts. Love to you all!" a post on the Picnic & Pine Facebook page read.

The owner of The Crooked Spoon Cafe wrote: "I’m sorry I don’t have a ton of words, just a lot of tears today. Thank you to the first responders and fire departments. Thank you to everyone who has reached out. My thoughts are with our neighbors tonight. Everyone is safe and that’s the most important thing. I’m surrounded by family."

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It's a massive blow for the businesses at an already incredibly difficult time not only for them, but the whole city.

Grand Marais is a hugely popular destination for summer visitors to the North Shore thanks to its proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and the bevy of aquatic options on Lake Superior. With the coronavirus pandemic causing a shutdown of many summer activities, the city is already facing a challenging season.

Among those who have been expressing their sadness is Gov. Tim Walz, who said on Monday: "I’m sorry to hear this terrible news. These businesses hold a special place in many of our hearts. I’m keeping the tight-knit Grand Marais community in my thoughts today. And tomorrow, we will rebuild."

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