Just hours after the fire,
"This is tough, man. This is my baby. I opened it when I was 23 years old," Umland said. "I'm still trying to process."
In the next breath, he promised to rebuild.
"We will rebuild. We will be stronger. It may take a couple of months, but we will be back," he said.
He said the fire broke out in the grill area sometime after closing late Tuesday.
"The next thing I know, there were cops banging on my door at midnight," Umland said.
By the time Umland and his wife, Kathy, arrived at the restaurant, flames and smoke poured out of the building, and
"You couldn't see the building because of all the flashing lights and fire trucks in the parking lot,"
Flames broke through the roof, causing it to partially collapse before firefighters got the blaze under control.
"Like a lot of people, they work paycheck to paycheck. I'm worried about them," he said.
As the Umlands looked over the damage, a number of customers stopped to offer their condolences.
"We come here just about every Sunday for breakfast," said
"The outpouring of support has been amazing," Umland said, his voice cracking with emotion. "I just had a customer stop by my house and hand me a
Umland and a partner founded Aunt Fannie's in 1981 at the
They both kept the Aunt Fannie's name and logo.
Last April, Stephens sold the Ocala Aunt Fannie's to Darrell's Diner, which changed the name and adjusted the menu.
Umland said Stephens offered him the restaurant first, but he wanted to keep his focus on the original location and his loyal customers.
"Kids that came in when I opened it are bringing in their grandchildren. It's a staple in
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