Fire destroyed the Golden Dawn Diner in Maple Shade Sunday night, shuttering a local landmark after decades in business.
Maple Shade Fire Chief Eldwood Severns said the blaze broke out around 11:30 p.m., about a half hour after closing. The restaurant was empty at the time, he said.
An investigation is underway into the cause of the fire, though arson has already been ruled out, according to Severns. Both the Maple Shade and Burlington County fire marshals are involved.
Severns said it appears the fire started in the kitchen. The kitchen and back storage area of the diner were severely damaged, and there was smoke damage to the dining room, he explained.
In a statement posted to their Facebook page early Monday morning, the owners of the diner—the Photiou and Romano families—wrote to their customers, "Words cannot express the amount of gratitude we feel toward you & your years of patronage & loyalty. We have shared many good times & memories & we hope to be back soon."
Patrons of the restaurant responded with condolences, with one customer describing Golden Dawn as "my parent's favorite meeting place for years" and another writing, "We have SO looked forward to our Sunday breakfast as our family tradition over many years. You have always been warm and welcoming and we have felt like part of YOUR family."
According to Philly.com, Golden Dawn was in business for decades on the eastbound side of Route 38, just on the other side of the Moorestown border.
Severns said a Lenola firefighter suffered a minor injury when he cut his hand ventilating the windows of the restaurant. There were no other injuries.
In addition to Maple Shade and Lenola, firefighters from Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill Pennsauken, Palmyra and Riverton assisted in battling the two-alarm blaze.