Fire destroys two restaurants in Dorset, hometown of the former 5-year-old mayor

Two anchor restaurants in tiny Dorset, Minnesota — the town that bills itself as the “Restaurant Capitol of the World” — were destroyed by fire early today.

Dorset became well-known in the past two years for its former 5-year-old honorary mayor, Bobby Tufts.

Both long-time restaurants, Companeros and the Dorset House, were owned by Rick and Laura Kempnich.

The couple were major organizers of the town’s annual Taste of Dorset festival in August, where people could pay $1 for each mayoral vote. Young Bobby won two years in a row (but didn’t “run” again this year), and was featured in news media around the world, both for his unusual position, and for his savvy disposition.

The Park Rapids Enterprise says the fire during a lightning storm about 3:30 a.m.

The paper said:

Owners Rick and Laura Kempnich huddled across the street on a bench watching the buildings go one-by-one.

“We’re just lost,” said a tearful Laura Kempnich. “We don’t know what to do.”

The restaurants had just celebrated their 29th year in business and were looking forward to their 30th, Rick said.

“My dad and I started them,” he said. “Oh there are so many memories …”

His voice trailed off.

Dorset bills itself as Restaurant Capital of the World because it had four restaurants in a town of 22 residents.

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