Fire destroys Whitewater pub

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Shelly Birkelo and Xavier Ward | October 25, 2016

WHITEWATER—Rick McCoy looked longingly from his front porch Tuesday afternoon at the last 34 years of his life gone up in flames.

His popular bar and restaurant, The Real McCoys, W8632 County A, was destroyed by fire early Tuesday morning.
The bar was known for its tasty food and its upside down margaritas poured into the mouths of patrons lying on their backs, McCoy said.

“It is a total loss,” Whitewater Fire Chief Don Gregoire said.

Damage is estimated at $400,000 damage, he said.

The building is decimated, but McCoy's hopes are not.

“I'm a little sick,” McCoy said.

He plans to rebuild and move forward, he said.

McCoy got a call from his security company at about 3 a.m. that an alarm was going off at the business.

He initially suspected a burglary but after calling the sheriff's office learned his bar had caught fire, he said.

He and his wife, Nancy, drove down from their second home in the Wisconsin Dells. By the time they arrived at about 4:30 a.m., the fire was mostly out, he said.

McCoy leased the bar in 1982 as a trial run. He told the original owner he'd give it a year and if he enjoyed it and the business was doing well, he'd buy the place, McCoy said.

Thirty-four years later, he was still going strong.

McCoy remodeled the bar in 2003 to add a kitchen. He said the kitchen was completely electric and had no gas appliances.

“It was an electric grill and electric fryers, but I could cook up some good food in there,” McCoy said with a smile.

Because the building did not use gas, he doesn't know what could have caused the fire.

The building was inspected last week, and no problems were identified, he said.

When Walworth County sheriff's deputies arrived at the tavern,  they found flames shooting out of the windows of the 2,000-square-foot establishment, Gregoire said.

By the time firefighters arrived, the one-story structure was fully engulfed, Gregoire said.

The fire was so hot it warped the siding on the McCoy home next door.

The pub and grill was closed at the time the fire, which was reported at 2:52 a.m.

Firefighters from 10 area departments responded.

The cause and origin of the fire are “still undetermined at this time. We're doing an investigation,” Gregoire said.

Nothing about the fire is considered suspicious, he said.

Gregoire said the fire was knocked down within 15 to 20 minutes.

“We're just wrapping up,” he said at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The insurance adjuster decided the fire was not worth investigating any further, McCoy said, but he still wants to know what happened.

It's unclear how long it will take to rebuild, but that's definitely the plan, McCoy said.

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