GRAHAM, N.C. -- A restaurant considered a treasure to many in Graham burned down early Wednesday morning after more than 20 years of business.
Smoke and flames could be seen for hours on West Elm Street where Carver's on Elm Restaurant caught around 5:15 a.m.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the blaze but say it started in the kitchen.
"It really makes me feel sad," said Don Wilson, who was born and raised in Graham.
Residents drove by slowly while other stood nearby, watching as fire destroyed part of the city's history.
"It brings back a lot of memories to a lot of folks," Wilson said.
He's eaten at the restaurant twice a week, every week for the past 20 years.
"It really hurts me," he said.
"It's hard to see this for the family,” said Mayor Jerry Peterman.
Carver's opened in the heart of downtown Graham in 1993.
Besides those lived nearby, it was a favorite to Alamance county's politicians, judges, and local businessmen.
"It was very emotional because it could have been me," said Jerry Harrison, who owns a coffee shop across the street. "They could go in there and feel like they were at home,"