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Fire shuts down Parker and Otis through January

Popular Brightleaf Square restaurant Parker and Otis will be closed throughout January due to damage from a fire that took place during winter break.
Popular Brightleaf Square restaurant Parker and Otis will be closed throughout January due to damage from a fire that took place during winter break.

Local eatery Parker and Otis will be out of commission for the rest of the month after sustaining damage from a fire during winter break and will be closed temporarily for repairs.

Dispatchers from the Durham Fire Department received a call at 7:46 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26 indicating that there was smoke coming from Parker and Otis, said DFD spokeswoman Sierra Jackson. The restaurant and storefront, located at 112 S. Duke St. in Brightleaf Square, is a popular breakfast, brunch and lunch joint for Durhamites and Duke students. According to their website, its fans will have to wait at least until February to resume dining and shopping at Parker and Otis.

The damage was caused by a fire, heavy smoke and water from Parker and Otis’s sprinkler system, Jackson said. The sprinklers were able to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived on the scene. The restaurant was set to be closed from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, according to its website, so nobody was present during or injured by the fire.

“It wasn’t a total loss,” she said.

The fire was caused by a malfunctioning light fixture in the main merchandise area of Parker & Otis, Jackson added. Parker and Otis sells a large assortment of wares including kitchen appliances and cookware, a library of wines and children’s toys.

The total expense of the damage is thus far unknown.

Representatives from the restaurant were not answering phones during the reparation project and could not be reached for comment via email in time for publication. On Dec. 27, the day after the fire, Jennings Brody, Parker and Otis’s owner, posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page that the damage was not insurmountable and that the restaurant will reopen as soon as possible. In the post, Brody expressed great gratitude for the DFD.

“[The DFD] acted with amazing speed and treated Jonathan and I with such sensitivity and grace during a very frightening situation,” he said. “There is a significant amount of damage, but nothing that cannot be repaired or replaced.”

Parker and Otis has become popular among students with its location near East Campus. Junior Lauren Morrison, a regular at the restaurant, said she will miss Parker and Otis as it stays closed while mending its damages.

“Parker and Otis has always been one of my favorite places to go in Durham—I go almost once a week,” she said. “I was really looking forward to going once I got back from abroad. I went earlier last week and was disappointed to find it was closed. I wish them the best of luck, and I’d like to support Parker in Otis in any way.”


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