In the early hours of Feb. 20, Trish Cummins said she received a phone call informing her that Midway BBQ, the beloved Katy barbecue joint owned by her father Herman Meyer, was on fire. For more than an hour, the Katy Fire Department fought to control the blaze, but after it was finally extinguished, the building was declared a total loss, Cummins said.
Now, the barbecue is completely closed for the foreseeable future, but Midway Meat Market and its deer processing facilities are still entirely operational. Midway Meat Market, which sustained major damage during Hurricane Harvey, recently reopened after two years of repairs. Midway BBQ management said they are focused on keeping staff employed at the Midway Meat Market while they assess the next steps.
As Cummins and Midway BBQ Operations Manager Jason Carlisle began to assess insurance, damages and next steps, the community had already begun fundraising to help support the local establishment on social media.
“It's just, you know, overwhelming,” Cummins said. “We're trying to, you know, take in all of that and be thankful. With everything else going on, we're just like overwhelmed by [the community’s response] actually.”
The fire, which officials believe started in the office, came in the wake of winter storms that left many Katy residents without power or water. With the city still reeling from the extreme effects of recent weather, the community still managed to facilitate and plan multiple fundraisers, including a March 6 fundraiser at MKT Distillery.
“All the money is for employees,” Cummins said. “It's not for damages. Right now, we have [employees] all working. We're trying to utilize everybody in the market, just—you know—keep them working. That's what this fundraiser is for.”
As the insurance details are hammered out, Cummins said they already have plans to rebuild the facility—but that process is expected to take at least a year. While the building can be rebuilt, Carlisle said that there are some items that are harder—or even impossible—to replace.
“The building could be rebuilt,” Carlisle said. “It's always memories that [Meyer] had in there—all the trophy mounts, all the pictures. We had a wall of over 150 pictures of people and their kids with their first animals and stuff. ... When we get down to the rebuilding phase, we'll be reaching out to everybody asking for more pictures to reload that kind of stuff.”