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Fire causes minor damage to Tampa diner where Elvis ate, but his booth okay

TAMPA — A Seminole Heights restaurant where Elvis Presley once ate reopened Tuesday morning after a fire the previous night. The good news for Elvis fans: The booth where he ate was not damaged.

Crews responded just before 10 p.m. Monday to reports of smoke at Nicko's Fine Foods, 4603 N Florida Ave. Firefighters found light smoke coming from an electrical panel on the roof.

Owner Dee Liakos said a passerby noticed the neon sign on the building was on fire and called authorities. The diner was closed for the evening but reopened for business as usual Tuesday morning.

The fire did not spread through the diner, Liakos said, and there was only some mess near the back door when firefighters entered to make sure no one was inside.

"Nothing happened inside, thank God," Liakos said.

Elvis ate at the diner, then called Ayres Diner, in 1956 after a concert at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory. A plaque at booth three on the north side of the restaurant recalls the occasion.

Fire causes minor damage to Tampa diner where Elvis ate, but his booth okay 04/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:57am]
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