Early morning fire guts Cranberry Cottage restaurant in Wareham

By Lydia Goerner | Aug 31, 2017
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Cranberry Cottage at 246 Marion Road was gutted in a structure fire Aug. 31.

Cranberry Cottage’s faithful customers found foam and blackened debris instead of the usually bustling restaurant on Thursday after an early morning fire gutted the building with damages estimated at $500,000.

A Wareham Fire Department press release described the restaurant as a “total loss.” The inside was destroyed, though the building is still standing. According to fire officials, the cause of the fire is listed as “accidental.”

The single-story restaurant was unoccupied when the fire was reported at 12:45 a.m. with firefighters clearing the scene at 9:26 a.m. Responders came from Onset, Marion, Rochester and Carver. The Wareham Fire Department and Wareham Police, state police and the state fire marshal also responded.

In all, 35 firefighters were at the scene along with six engines, two ladder trucks and four other fire department vehicles. The Wareham Fire Department reported that one firefighter was injured during the response. The nature of the injury is unknown at this time.

Located at 246 Marion Road, the restaurant was purchased by Chandara Chuon and his wife, Sophea, in early May from former owner John Coneeny who retired. The couple moved to Buzzards Bay from Lowell to operate the restaurant.

"It's very unfortunate, but at least no one got hurt," Chuon said. He said the restaurant will need to be demolished and then rebuilt.

"It's going to take a while," Chuon said. He thanked his customers for their patience and the support they have given him.

Many early risers were saddened to see the nearly 70-year old restaurant destroyed. It first opened in 1950 as Muriel’s Snack Shack. One group, who call themselves the ROMEOs – Retired Old Men Eating Out – had been eating at Cranberry Cottage for decades.

“They always had good food and good service,” said Paul Girard, one of the ROMEOs. “It was pretty sad this morning.”

Girard said he was looking forward to his usual, an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich on an English muffin.

Gary Pittsley, another member of the ROMEOs, said he went to Cranberry Cottage almost every day. The group convened at Mill Pond Diner Thursday morning and reminisced about their years dining at Cranberry Cottage.

“They take really good care of us,” said Mike Franciose.

The back side of Cranberry Cottage was the most burned of the outside of the building, though the inside was gutted. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
(Left to right) Paul Girard, Steve Cook, John Pettersen, Mike Franciose, John Potito and Gary Pittsley, members of the ROMEO Club, eat breakfast at Mill Pond Diner Thursday morning after discovering the damage at Cranberry Cottage. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
Top: An undated photo of Cranberry Cottage restaurant, then called Muriel's Snack Shack. Bottom: Paul Girard, a Cranberry Cottage regular, helped coordinate customers to recreate the above photo in 2016.
Comments (7)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 31, 2017 13:08

So sad.  Hope the hurt firefighter recovers quickly.


I have a question for Wareham Week:


What constitutes "Breaking News"? This is rather big news.  An active successful landmark restaurant has burnt down, but I heard about it from another source this morning at 7:00 and saw it when I drove by at 8:00, which was long before this story came out.


Yet last week there was a Breaking News announcement for some abandoned unoccupied shacks that were on fire behind Lopes Playground.


Seems inconsistent.

Posted by: cranky pants | Aug 31, 2017 14:31

Sad story indeed, best wishes for the firefighter. Maybe with any luck the owners will rebuild quickly.

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Aug 31, 2017 19:29

"Accidental " at  0:45  well after the place was closed  ..... Umm ok

Posted by: Jaime Rebhan | Sep 01, 2017 13:18

Wareham by the Sea,


We continue to have discussions about when to use the breaking news alert. We tend to use it for things that are happening right now. If we'd had a reporter at the scene of that fire and he or she got the story online while it was happening or shortly after, the breaking news alert likely would have been used.


Since this story was reported some hours after the event happened, the breaking news alert was not used.


That's not a hard and fast rule, however. It is, honestly, something we continue to discuss. Your comment was helpful, so thank you!




Wearer of many hats

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Sep 01, 2017 20:47

Jamie, thanks for the response.  That makes sense.  Now that I think about it, the last few were happening at the time of the alert.  I guess big news isn't always breaking news.

Posted by: Jaime Rebhan | Sep 02, 2017 09:35

But, Wareham by the Sea, if people would appreciate breaking news alerts for big news that isn't "happening now," we could do that.


Maybe we'll give it a shot and see if we get an excess of complaints! :) (As we don't generally have a lot of alerts, I don't think getting a few more email blasts would be annoying...)




Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Sep 02, 2017 11:56

,this isn't Lowell . It's Wareham .. The Sheriff has been to many multiple alarms in Lowell  boy I hated those 2 am empty building burning like a camp fire  funny thing the owners never seemed too upset  .... Why it's Grease Lightening , coulda used another term but then I'd be accused of Semitism .

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