MOORESVILLE, Ind. — Les “Toonz” Duncan has never been the type to focus on the past.
“The sun is going to come up, it’s going to go down, the world is going to go round and round, and you have to keep going around with it,” he said.
After a fire ripped through his business Thursday morning, Duncan is already looking forward to the future.
Rowdy’s Pizza on North Monroe Street just opened about six months ago. The restaurant was recently featured on FOX59’s “Be Our Guest” segment. Business was going well, and work was almost finished on new arcade and pub rooms.
“We were on such a roll because Mooresville’s been looking for something for the whole family to do, and we were looking to be able to provide that,” Duncan said.
Duncan got the call a little after 5 a.m. Thursday.
“The place was filled with smoke.”
Duncan said flames practically destroyed the kitchen and left behind extensive smoke and heat damage. It’s a devastating setback as Rowdy’s was just gaining momentum.
“This is all materialistic. I mean, it’ll come back, but you know, the relationships that you build with customers and your regulars, that’s one of the things we’re going to miss the most,” Duncan said.
Duncan, who spent 15 years in the military, said he envisioned Rowdy’s as a family fun atmosphere that offered a little bit of everything to its customers.
“My family ran a small pizzeria when I was a kid. I’ve been cooking with my great grandmother since I was little myself,” he said. “We make all of our sauces in house. My coleslaw, lasagna, our pulled pork, everything that we do here is all…
“We put a lot of care into what we do.”
“This is our second home,” Duncan continued. “We’ve got five kids, and this is all they talk about. This is where they’re at.”
Starting now and into the coming days, Duncan said he and his team will be working to see what is salvageable within the business. Though there isn’t a price tag on the extent of damages yet, Duncan expects a full remodel, which will likely put them out about four to six months.
“We just got to dig in, get back to work, which today is the day we start coming back,” said Duncan.
“We could definitely use help. We’re a small, veteran, family-run company, and we’re not going to lie about it,” he said. “A lot of this stuff that you see in here, we personally built on our own.”
Duncan said fundraisers are happening with area businesses, including Tattooligan’s. You can keep up with Rowdy’s progress on their Facebook page.