Fire Ruins Jimmy John's 70th Anniversary

By Matthew Stabley
|  Monday, May 3, 2010  |  Updated 4:10 PM EDT
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70 Years of Hot Dog Excellence

NBC Philadelphia

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70 Years of Hot Dog Excellence

Delaware County staple Jimmy John's may have opened in 1940, but not much has changed since. It's still the best according to hot dog lovers.
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Fire spoiled the 70th anniversary party at a historic West Chester restaurant Saturday morning.

No one was injured in the one-alarm fire at Jimmy John's Pipin Hot Sandwiches at 1507 Wilmington Pike. It started as a standard grease fire in the kitchen and quickly spread.

The fire was under control by 10:30 a.m. It was reported at 8:19 a.m., Concordville Fire Chief Thomas Nelling told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

There is no official word on the extent of the damage, but pictures from the scene show it burned through much of the roof.

"It looks to me like the building's a total loss," Nelling told the Inquirer.

The roadside stand is best known for its hot dogs -- and coin-operated model trains -- and the Food Network once called it one of the country's five best roadside stops, NBC Philadelphia's Tim Furlong reported Friday.

Having opened in early May 1940, Jimmy John's is the oldest business on Route 202 between Wilmington and West Chester.

Owner Roger Steward began working at Jimmy John's as a high school student in 1974, Furlong reported. He bought the restaurant when Jimmy John died in 2002.

Steward was expecting a lot of people for the 70th anniversary party today. Hot dogs, quarter-pound cheeseburgers and hamburgers, and 16-ounce soft drinks were priced at 70 cents for the occasion.

Steward did not want to talk to NBC Philadelphia about the fire Saturday.

If you have pictures or video of the fire, send them to tips@nbcphiladelphia.com.

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