CALABASH, N.C. (WNCN) — A popular seafood restaurant at the North Carolina coast burned down Saturday.

Ella’s Restaurant at 1148 River Road in Calabash caught fire in the kitchen just before noon Saturday, according to the Calabash Fire Department.

High flames could be seen coming through the roof of the restaurant, which is about a block from the Calabash River. Heavy smoke was also visible, according to photos and video.

“Arriving units found smoke and flames already coming through the roof of the one-story seafood restaurant,” according to Calabash fire officials. “Firefighters immediately made an interior attack but were eventually forced back by intense heat and flames.”

The smoke drifted through much of Calabash, which is at the South Carolina border and is famous for its high concentration of Southern batter-fried seafood restaurants.

Ella’s Restaurant featuring fresh seafood dates back to 1950 when Lawrence and Ella High built a one-room restaurant in Calabash, according to the restaurant’s website.

There’s no word on what caused the fire, but officials said it appeared to begin in the kitchen.

River Road was closed until about 6:45 p.m. while fire crews were still at the scene.

The Calabash Fire Department was the main crew that responded but also received help from The Sunset Beach Fire Department, Ocean Isle Beach Fire Department, Grissettown/Longwood Fire Department, Winnabow Fire Department and Horry County Fire in South Carolina.