Blaze guts popular Havelock restaurant

Fire caused major damage to Crabby Patty’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar early Friday morning.

Capt. Mike Dixon, of the Havelock Fire and Rescue Department, said the call came in around 11:30 p.m. Thursday night.

The restaurant, located at 916 East Main St., has proved popular with residents and travelers since George and Patty Aswad opened it in 2006 as a relatively small shack. A couple of years later, they expanded the business with a larger dining area. The whole building is 4,272 square feet.

“This is our 10-year anniversary,” George Aswad said.

He declined to offer any sort guess as to what caused the fire.

“We’re not going to be doing any talking about it,” he said, deferring to fire investigators. “We’re still trying to get things sorted out.”

Flames shot through the roof and out the windows as firefighters fought the blaze late Thursday and early Friday, attacking it from the second story of the old section of the building, Dixon said.

On Friday morning, there was a gaping hole in the roof and extensive fire damage and smoke damage as well as damage from water throughout the building.

Firefighters from Cherry Point and Township 6 were called to help put out the flames.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Aswad also operates Island Express Ferry Service and Crystal Coast Lady Cruises, a party fishing boat out of Beaufort, as well as the Lookout Lady Scenic River Tours and Capt. Fins Pontoon and Kayak Rentals in New Bern.

During 2013 when federal employees were furloughed because of budget cuts, the business offered discounted meals Fleet Readiness Center East workers.

The Aswad family is originally from New York. When Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast in 2012, the Aswads organized collections of cans goods, bottled water, clothing, toiletries and other relief supplies.

The Aswads received the I Love Havelock award from the Havelock Chamber of Commerce in 2012 for their various contributions to nonprofit groups.