Friday at 2:40 AM, there was a report of a fire in the mixed-use residential/commercial building at McPherson and Euclid. It is home to three restaurants (Mission Taco Joint and Ranoush), as well as offices for The Normal Brand, a local clothing company.
Dennis Jenkerson, Chief of the St. Louis Fire Department, told KMOV that the fire was so large that firefighters needed to use 80 to 100 compressed air tanks to put it under control. According to media outlets, one woman was saved and another was taken to a local hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. No other injuries have been reported. As of press time, the exact cause and location were still unknown.
Yesterday, Mission Taco Joint’s co-owner Adam Tilford stated that damage to the interior of the restaurant “appeared minor” from water and smoke. However, the “mechanicals” (HVAC units and equipment compressors as well as the exhaust system and electric service) would need to be repaired and replaced. Tilford suggested that the fire probably did not originate at any of the restaurants, as they had been closed for several hours. However, he said, “That’s up to the experts.”
He said, “There is not much we can yet do, except board up the affected areas and contact the insurance carrier, which has already been done.”
Salt + Smoke owner Tom Schmidt told me he was in the hospital when I reached him this morning. He added that he was with his wife and that he thinks they are having a baby today. Life doesn’t stop.”
Schmidt observed that the fire appeared to have started in the rear lot. Schmidt said it was “in the area where Mission and Salt intersect.” Schmidt claims that there is video surveillance from Mission and us back there. “That all stopped once the fire started. The electricity went out and the cameras were melted off the walls. But there should be a video that shows the exact location of the fire and its cause.
He said that “our space is the only one [of the three] to catch fire inside,” and added that “we will need more extensive work.” The building has been condemned. The insurance company has to approve the work. We cannot begin cleaning up. Although I would love to say that we could just repaint the door and install a new one, it will take months to put everything back together.
Ranoush owner Aboud ashamed, still reeling from the news, said that it would take him a few days to figure out what he could do. He also suggested that Ranoush may open Ranoush’s Delmar Loop location for lunch to help the displaced workers, but that it was too early to know what he can and should do.
Schmidt and Tilford own four other restaurants in the metro area. They said they should be able to reassign CWE employees. Tilford said, “It will take a moment to balance everyone’s wants and needs with the available shifts.”
The CWE Mission Taco Joint replaced Gringo. This was one of only a few restaurants that occupied the block at 300 N. Euclid. The beloved Duff’s and Kopperman’s were among them, along with Cucina Pazzo and The Tavern Kitchen & Bar.
Pete Rothschild, of Rothschild St. Louis, said “I’ve been in real estate for 50 years so I am used to having problems every day. But this one hurt.” It is a beautiful building. The good news is that the tenants, some of whom are like relatives, have their space covered. I will take care of it. Everyone willokayfine. We will make sure it happens. It’s my job.
Rothschild shat he began his career in that basement in 1969 selling vintage clothing. That was half of the basement. It was all I could afford.” Rothschild later expanded and opened Rothschild’s Antiques & Home Furnishings which occupied the basement as well as the first floor. He sold the business in 2012 to make way for the Gringo. He stated that there was a lot of history around this corner in his 2012 speech to the West End Word. It’s the most beautiful spot in St. Louis.
You will find the Rothschild offices across the street. Rothschild stated that he plans to keep an eye on rebuilding progress every day going forward. It’s my corner.