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Fate of Mining Camp restaurant in Apache Junction still up in the air

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jan 15, 2018

An online post has created a firestorm and raised questions about the fate of the historic Mining Camp Restaurant in Apache Junction.

"I would hate to see them go somewhere else or never rebuild. It would be a horrible thing for Apache Junction. They're the history of it," said Jennifer Brindle. 

The restaurant burned to the ground in late July of 2017, and since then thousands have rallied around the owners, holding fundraisers to help them get back on their feet.

It was a Facebook post posted on the Apache Trails page that raised many eyebrows. It claimed Pinal County wasn't going to allow the Mining Camp to be rebuilt because it sits on a residential zoning lot.  

"This restaurant has been here since the '60's, so, it's been here longer than most of the houses that are here," said Joy Maclin.

The post claimed it was an online petition calling for likes, shares, and comments. Even claiming it had the backing of the restaurant owner's son, and asked for help.

It was shared and 'liked' thousands of times. Comments flooded the page calling for the restaurant to be rebuilt.  

Maclin, who has lived in Apache Junction for over 20 years, says if the restaurant went they would lose a staple that serves as the identity of the area. Brindle added, the reason they moved to Apache Junction was because of the restaurant and the welcoming environment.

"We built where we did because we loved going to that restaurant so much, we love the people here, and that location and, yeah, I'd be heartbroken," added Brindle. 

So how much of the post is true?

ABC15 went right to the source and spoke to the owners of the restaurant who said they had nothing to do with the post. 

In a statement owners Vinton and Deborah Fugate said:

"I'm here to make a statement today due to the recent speculation and post on Facebook. Although we did not put the post out on Facebook, we greatly appreciate the overwhelming support. The stated facts are not necessarily true. We are still trying, and are still in the process of, figuring things out and currently working with all government officials. Once we figure things out, we will be making a statement. Until then, please respect our privacy and keep the Mining Camp in your hearts."

ABC15 also reached out to the county, but because of the holiday, no one could get back to us until tomorrow.  

In the meantime, the owners hope their words will help settle the dust surrounding the fate of a restaurant that has meant so much to so many over the decades, that its future is not set in stone.