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Lillie's Q Barbecue Joint Closing After Fire

By Erica Demarest | March 15, 2013 11:18am | Updated on March 15, 2013 3:50pm

WICKER PARK — After a fire ravaged its Wicker Park storefront Friday morning, Lillie's Q barbecue restaurant announced it is shutting down indefinitely.

"We come to all of you with heavy hearts this morning," owner Charlie McKenna tweeted Friday (@LilliesQChicago). "Last night after our [Wicker Park] restaurant closed, a fire broke out in our basement. The fire started from a hot water heater down in the basement."

According to a Chicago Fire Department spokesman, the fire started at 11:39 p.m. in the basement of Lillie's Q, 1856 W. North Ave. Firefighters responded and struck it out.

They were called back to the scene at 4:18 a.m., after the fire apparently rekindled, the spokesman said. One firefighter suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital.

On Friday morning, about a dozen firefighters gathered in front of the boarded-up restaurant. An official on the scene said they were planning to assess damage and pinpoint exactly what happened.

"There's been significant fire damage to the restaurant and to the apartments upstairs," McKenna said on Twitter. "Thankfully nobody was injured in the restaurant or in the apartments upstairs."

Lillie's Q opened in Wicker Park in 2010. In January, it added a second Chicago location at the French Market, 131 N. Clinton St. The original Lillie's Q, started by chef McKenna's award-winning pitmaster parents, is in Destin, Fla.

"Our [Wicker Park] location and our Chicago French Market location are closed indefinitely," McKenna tweeted. "We're so grateful for all the outpouring of support from everyone. We'll be back somewhere, somehow, and some way."