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Crumb-ing out of the ashes!

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By Euan Maxwell
Dumfries and West
Crumb-ing out of the ashes!

IT has been over two years since a brutal fire devastated a popular Dumfries restaurant.

But with determination, patience and endless hard work, the Gidney family have finally re-opened Crumb on St Michael Street.

Paul and Claire Gidney originally thought their dreams were in the ashes when they discovered the eatery on fire on February 2022.

The blaze had started in the roof space above the pizza oven and three hours later had burnt through the ceiling.

Paul said: “We were closed that day on the Wednesday but I had been in the kitchen with the chef prepping for the week ahead and had used the pizza oven.

“It was a wood burning oven which doesn’t have an on-off switch so you shut the doors and allow it to burn itself away.

“We left and then got a call that Crumb was on fire. I couldn’t believe it.

“The heat and smoke was so intense. Everything was just black. It felt like an aftermath of a battle, it was devastating.”

Claire admits she was in disbelief, shock, cried constantly and felt their restaurant journey was over.

However, after getting home that evening, the family decided they were “determined” that they were going to pull through and come back.

She added: “It felt like we lost a family member, I was depressed. But we wanted to come back. Paul kept going back to the restaurant in the days after the fire, and admitted it was a lot to process.”

Nothing was salvaged from the fire apart from a little toy cow, Paul explained: “It’s our fire survivor. It was one of our member of staff’s Mirren.

“We used to play games with the staff where I would hide the cow and send a photo to all the staff to spot or find the cow. It was really nice Mirren’s cow survived and will be on display here. Everything was gone but the cow, which is incredible.”

The family has been through it all over the last few years including two coronavirus lockdowns, the blaze and then a couple of months later Paul took seriously unwell.

He said: “After the fire we had loads of messages of support and people wanted to help us. But in May 2022, on Friday 13, I woke up and was in a lot of pain. It turned out I had aneurysms in both legs and had to have surgery in the left leg.

“I got told if I left it until the afternoon I would’ve lost a leg or the next day I would’ve died.

“It hasn’t been plain-sailing at all. Everyone has been really great to us.

“Businesses around the town have helped us so much with support which has been nice. Without them we don’t know if we would’ve made it.”

Initially, a target date for reopening was set for October 2023. But due to planning permission issues and asbestos discoveries, the refurb took a little bit longer.

Now that dream has become a reality as the restaurant has been transformed with more tables and fresh decor.

Paul added: “We’ve also totally changed the type of food and the way we have cooked it.

“The kitchen is all electric now, which is new for me. We have a massive natural fuel burning oven. It cooks different.

“My escape was always being in the kitchen so for two years I’ve been doing it in my head.

“My food is now very personal and all the dishes are related to our lives.

“Our thinking has changed. And we want to do a restaurant the way we feel we’d like to do so.

“After everything that’s happened, we want to have a proper shot at running Crumb.”

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