By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
An early Sunday morning fire damaged and closed one of the three franchise restaurants owned by local sisters Yvonne Braziel and Yvette Braziel-Peacock.
The call that shock our world came in at 2 a.m., Sunday morning notifying us that Rockin Y’s was on fire, said Braziel-Peacock.
Braziel and Braziel-Peacock were at their flagship restaurant Del’s Sunday afternoon, decorating for Christmas and trying to come up with a plan.
“All we can do is move forward, we’ve still got to open two restaurants,” Braziel said.
“This fire could not of happened at a worse time of the year,” Braziel-Peacock said.
Braziel said business (restaurants) is slowing down due to the weather and season. She said the fire has not only shut down a restaurant it has created a new problem of fitting in the employees of the Rockin Y’s into the schedule of the two remaining restaurants Del’s and Kix on 66.
“Its a hard reality to face, but we are not going to be able to find positions/shifts for everyone,” Braziel-Peacock said. “We may be able to work in a 1/3 of the employees.”
Braziel said it may seem cold, but its all a matter of economics, they can not keep all of the employees on the payroll.
Braziel-Peacock said not knowing the future of Rocking Y’s, if its a total loss or can be fixed, ties our hands. She said if the restaurant could be repaired it would take several months before the business would open for workers to return.
Braziel said when she and her sister arrived Sunday the fire had been extinguished and the fire fighters were checking the building for hot spots.
Braziel-Peacock said the kitchen (where the fire originated) is destroyed, the main dinning area is damaged from smoke and water and portions of the roof may also be damaged.
Braziel said the extent of the damage will not be known until the insurance adjuster examines the building.
At 1:24 a.m., Sunday the Tucumcari Volunteer Fire Department was dispatch to a structure fire on the 1900 block of East Route 66, according to police call logs. City and Rural 2 fire fighters were on the scene until 3:50 a.m., when the last unit returned to the station.
The fire caps a year in which the sisters had started out by celebrating the 20th anniversary of their purchase of Del’s. The two purchased the restaurant from their mother on Jan. 9, 1995.
The sisters expanded operations in August 2004 by purchasing a building on Route 66 that once housed a Denny’s restaurant. The new restaurant would later be dubbed “Kix on 66.” Having halted breakfast at Del’s, the sisters decided to make the new restaurant their official breakfast outlet.
In May 2009, the sisters bought another restaurant set on a desirable location, where Route 66 meets U.S. Highway 54, close to Interstate 40. This newest restaurant was called Rockin’ Y’s and featured signature burgers and barbecue.
Braziel said walking through the building the smell of the smoke reminded her of a childhood memory.
Braziel said when she and Braziel-Peacock were children living in Santa Rosa her father worked as part of clean up for a train derailment between Vaughn and Santa Rosa.
Braziel said their father returned with burnt lemons from the wreckage. She said for several months they drank burnt lemonade.
“I can still recall that taste, it was horrible, but it was free,” Braziel said.
Braziel said back then times were tough and growing up they did not have the luxury of turning down free food.
Braziel-Peacock said the money locked in the safe in the front of the building even smelt like smoke. She said that has also raised a concern about the meat and produce in the walk-in cooler. It may seem like wasting food, but we don’t want to chance someone getting sick from the food.