Fire crews worked for hours but were unable to save a restaurant and liquor store in the north shore suburb of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines.

The fire began at L'Ancestral Café Bistro at 153 Ste-Anne Blvd., about 40 km north of Montreal, around 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Restaurant staff quickly evacuated the building, ushering patrons outside, while calling 9-1-1.

Sylvain Caya, chief of the Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines fire department, said the fire began in the kitchen.

"Employees smelled the odour of smoke and from the kitchens they say flames coming out of a storeroom, so they evacuated," said Caya.

The fire department called on crews from nearby Terrebonne and Mirabel for assistance as the flames spread to the adjoining SAQ outlet.

However despite their efforts both buildings were destroyed.

Staff at the restaurant said they remained on the scene until 2 a.m. and at that point both buildings were gutted, although the fire was still raging.

The cause of the fire is not known.

One firefighter was hurt when he twisted his ankle.