Community Saddened After Popular South Shore Restaurant Burns Down

Pine Cone Ole's has been a staple in the Wisconsin town of Herbster since the 1920s

HERBSTER, Wis. – Pine Cone Ole’s restaurant and bar in Herbster, Wisconsin is being called a total loss after it caught fire early Monday morning.

“It was a great little bar restaurant,” said John Powers, who used to be a cook at the staple along Highway 13. “It was a fabulous meeting place for the locals. It’s quite the hit for Herbster.”

Cecil Kavajecz lives across the street from Pine Cone Ole’s and woke up to flames outside his windor around 4:30 a.m.

“I looked out the window and the building was totally engulfed in flames,” said Kavajecz. “Out of the windows, out the back door, it was a raging flame.”

Today, locals looked on through the smoke and burning embers as their once-favorite meeting place sat in a pile of rubble. “We don’t have a whole lot of fires up here but it was roaring,” said Powers, who is now a volunteer firefighter with the Cornucopia Fire Department and helped put out the fire.

Pine Cone Ole’s has been a staple in the community along the south shore since it first opened back in 1924. “It’s been a generational thing,” said Orris Solberg, who was a frequent customer. “The kids now, their folks, and their folks grew up with their folks here, so it passed down through history for a long, long time.”

“It was always some place we would go to coffee in the morning meet with friends, talk about the latest happenings around the area, just a nice little gathering spot.”

While it may have had its flaws, it’s what Pine Cone Ole’s meant to the community in Herbster that kept it going strong until the very end.

“It had a lot of structural issues, like a lot of old buildings,” said Jeff Hepner, who was a longtime customer. “A lot of us thought the old place should burn down, would be the best thing that could happen to it, but once you see it burn you feel bad about it.”

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

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