Tarpon Springs brothers' dream goes up in smoke

Restaurant owners lose everything in fire

For Sean Field and his brother, Chris, buying the Tap House in Tarpon Springs was almost like living out a fantasy from the movie Cocktails.
 
But Tuesday night that dream came to a crashing halt.
 
Flames poured out of the restaurant ceiling Tuesday night just as the dinner rush was beginning.
 
No one was hurt but many are now left picking up the pieces.
 
"Considering the short period of time we have owned the restaurant itself, just a little more than three months, it’s really hard,” said Sean Field. “It was going very, very well for us."
 
Well enough that the brothers were prepping long times employees for promotions.  
 
"I lost a lot of sleep last night thinking about the employees," Field said.
 
But now those promotions are on hold and it could be for a very long time.
 
"We didn't own the property itself. We just owned the business," said Field, adding that everything inside the restaurant was insured.
 
However, Field said he just found out the building wasn't insured. Which means the future of this restaurant is uncertain.
 
"I spend more time here than my home,” said kitchen manager Melvin Ortega.
 
Ortega has worked there under old management and new and considers his co-workers family. However it’s not just his work family he has to worry about.
 
"I have a girlfriend and a 5-year-old daughter at home who depend on me,” said Ortega. “I have to be able to pay our bills and take care of my little girl.”
 
But Ortega and the 37 employees without work are trying to stay positive and hold high hopes for the rebuild or a fresh start elsewhere.
 
A move is a possibility, the brothers said, but they would prefer to return to the same location.
 
"We really loved this spot. We really loved the cliental we had, and the great employees,” Field said. “I think all of them would want to come back if we can rebuild."
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