Fire Guts Famous San Diego Restaurant

SAN DIEGO --

Just weeks after celebrating its 25th anniversary, the San Diego restaurant made famous in the movie, "Top Gun," was gutted by a fire Thursday.

The blaze at Kansas City Barbecue was reported just before 2:30 p.m. at the eatery located at 610 W. Market St.

When San Diego Fire-Rescue Department crews arrived, there was smoke and flames showing from the building. People throughout downtown reported seeing and smelling smoke from the fire.

Firefighters put out the flames within 20 minutes of arriving but the inside was already gutted. Firefighters and employees of the restaurant said the fire started in the kitchen and spread quickly. The cook on duty tried to douse the flames, but fled, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque.

There were customers on the outside patio, but none inside. Every employee inside got out safely. Unfortunately, all of the memorabilia the restaurant is known for is gone.

The Kansas City Barbecue was made famous by the movie "Top Gun." According to the restaurant's Web site, the location director for Paramount Studios was driving through downtown San Diego. After stopping in for a beer, he brought back the film's director, Tony Scott, who approached the bar for use in the film.

And over the years, hundreds of tourists have flocked to see where Maverick, played by Tom Cruise and Goose, played by Anthony Edwards, belted out the lyrics to "Great Balls of Fire."

A helmet from the movie was now sitting outside, charred and melted. An estimate on the damage caused has not been given, but employees say there were items lost that cannot be replaced.

The restaurant just celebrated it's 25th anniversary last month.

As a result of the fire, the Coaster was shut down temporarily. The trolley was running as scheduled.

The damage is estimated around $350,000.

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