Flames broke out about 7:25 p.m. at the two-story brick building at 19 W. Pennsylvania Ave. in downtown Towson, near Washington Avenue, shutting down several blocks of downtown Towson for several hours.
One volunteer firefighter from the Providence volunteer company suffered minor injuries in a fall, said Lynn Mullahey, a spokesperson for Baltimore County Fire Department.
There were no other reports of injuries in the blaze, a dispatcher said.
Mullahey said the fire started in the kitchen but did not appear to spread to the two neighboring buildings, Edward Jones, a financial advisor to the east and Hamilton Federal Bank to the west.
About 100 firefighters and 25 trucks from the north and central parts of the county converged on the blaze. Flames shot through the roof of the restaurant and the east side of the building as thick gray smoke rolled out of the two second-story front windows.
Shifting breezes sent the smoke down into the street, obscuring the flashing lights of trucks that lined the street.
Firefighters worked to pour water into the front windows as two trucks sprayed water onto the roof.
Among those in the crowd watching the fire along Pennsylvania Avenue were several people who were regulars at the restaurant during their college years.
"I spent half of my college existence in that building," said April Shaw of Towson, who graduated with a mass communications degree in 2003.
"I just texted my college roommates" to tell them about the fire, she said.
Paul Donhauser, who took some classes at Towson University and now works as law clerk nearby, said he goes to the restaurant occasionally for lunch and went often when he was in school.
"It was definitely a college bar," he said.
The fire appeared to be under control by about 8:30 p.m., but firefighters remained at the scene, still showering the building with water, although most of the smoke had dissipated by 10 p.m.