MATAWAN — A fixture on a Main Street in Monmouth County for almost two decades was damaged by fire Monday night, and its owners said it will be closed for a "long time" although they are vowing to rebuild.

"If a pandemic couldn't stop us, this won't either," a post on the Facebook page for Aby's Mexican Restaurant said Tuesday.

Aby's website said it opened as a pizza parlor in 2002, but gradually worked more and more Mexican dishes into its offerings before becoming a full-scale Mexican restaurant in 2004.

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The Facebook post said no one was hurt in the blaze that started in the back of the building, crediting local police and fire departments for their quick response.

According to that post, law enforcement and the Monmouth County SPCA helped some pets in a space next door, identified in an Asbury Park Press report as Bird Lover's Paradise, but also known as Garden State Exotic Pets.

The Asbury Park Press report said there was no further word Wednesday afternoon as to whether any animals had been injured or killed, and said the fire is under investigation.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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