Eric and Rob Fortney are rebuilding their restaurant 3 Brothers after it was destroyed by fire this spring. TMP/E. Edgemon
A fire may have destroyed 3 Brothers Deli and Brew House last spring, but it hasn’t destroyed the spirit of owners Eric and Rob Fortney.
The New York-style deli, which had already become widely popular after being open just three months, is coming back this fall, the brothers said.
Rebuilding of the restaurant began last month about three months after the devastating March 20 fire on West Main Street about a block from the Public Square. The fire started that Saturday morning in Music City Medical Supply and moved to 3 Brothers.
“My immediate reaction was how to take care of the employees,” Eric said, adding that he and his brother helped most employees get jobs and held a benefit concert for them.
Eric and Rob were left with virtually nothing following the fire. The restaurant had to be gutted. Everything was gone but four walls and the bar.
The restaurant space has just been gutted, cleaned and the walls framed.
It was just a month ago that Eric and Rob decided to reopen the restaurant at the same location. Because of finances, they were considering just closing up for good or moving to another location.
But they had their heart set on the space at 223 W. Main St.
“Realistically, I tried to get that location for four years,” Eric said.
He wanted to have a restaurant on or near the Public Square because of the history and the atmosphere of downtown.
Rob said a classic deli and the downtown square just seemed to go together.
With the rebuilding the brothers are getting to design the restaurant from scratch.
“We will have a custom built building for 3 Brothers now,” Rob said.
They are changing the layout of the restaurant somewhat. The drop ceilings were replaced by a wood truss system making the ceilings 4-feet higher.
The brothers are adding carnival games like Big Ball Bowler.
“The building is 100 years old,” Eric said. “We figured we would stick with the vintage feel of the building.”
But what will likely mean more to customers is an expanded menu featuring four new appetizers and four to five new entrees including lasagna and chopped steak.
3 Brothers will serve breakfast every morning, the highlight being a “Lucky Waffle Bar” with a wide variety of toppings, fillings and batters.
“Our waffles bring you a lot of luck,” Rob said, adding that many people on the Square, such as those waiting for their day in court, could use a touch of luck in the morning.
Eric and Rob are now energized and focused on getting the restaurant ready to reopen.
“Out of this fire is going to be a blessing for us,” Rob said, adding that it has made them stronger and has allowed them to focus on getting the restaurant just right.
Erin Edgemon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.