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Community shows up to support BBQ restaurant devastated by fire

Station House BBQ, owned by a Lutz firefighter, suffered a major loss when its truck used to transport supplies and food went up in flames.

LUTZ, Fla. — Neither Allison nor Anthony Fonseca never expected to get a call like the one they got last Wednesday.

“It’s been pretty emotional the last few days,” said Anthony, owner of Station House BBQ in Lutz.

Their converted 1992 ambulance, which they were using to transport meals between their two restaurant locations during the pandemic, began to smoke while being driven by an employee. That employee jumped out and watched the vehicle burn.

It’s a total loss. Today, it sits in a junkyard just down the road from the family’s restaurant.

“Devastating,” Allison said.

The family received a boost of business in the initial days following the loss of the truck. A Facebook post relaying the news to the community received hundreds of likes and comments. People streamed in to eat. It was a cheerful bump in much-needed happiness for a family who felt like they’d lost so much.

But that wave has fizzled. The family is back to hosting more nibblers than feasts. They are worried that they will not have enough money to keep their doors open. The difficulty of navigating a pandemic coupled with the loss of a major piece of their business may push them past the financial breaking point.

“Today I’m filled with hope. I’m overwhelmed with the generosity of the community,” Allison said.

Losing Station House BBQ would be a loss for the community. Station House BBQ provides meals to local non-profits and food pantries. They host fundraisers and feed first responders. It has always operated from a community-first approach.

Anthony and Allison are keeping their faith as the focal point of it all.

“Once you start following Jesus, the devil starts attacking you. That’s just what it is,” Anthony said. “I wanted to quit. I’m not going to lie. I was there and then God said, ‘No, this is what you’ve done for the community the last couple of years. I’m going to show you what I’m going to do’. I’m not quitting.”

If you’d like to visit Station House BBQ, the address is 16319 North Florida Avenue in Lutz.