Restaurant reopens after massive fire in Sugar House forced their doors to close

Oct 28, 2022, 9:44 PM | Updated: 10:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to finding a good place to eat on a Friday night, Kimi’s Chop and Oyster House in Sugar House is a pretty good option.

You might even meet Kimi Eklund herself, who loves to greet her customers. But after what happened just across the street earlier this week, it was her customers who wanted to talk to her.

“People have been contacting me since Tuesday, early morning at 1:30, when they saw the news” she said. “They were texting and saying, ‘Hey, are you okay?'”

Eklund had to close her restaurant.

A huge fire at an unfinished apartment complex kept firefighters next door for more than 24 hours. Add that to demolition crews having to tear it all down, and the risk of falling debris, Eklund wasn’t sure when she would be able to reopen.

“And then, more fires are starting. You see the embers and everything, and so you just wonder what’s going to happen,” Eklund said.

Even though she couldn’t open, Kimi still paid her workers. She knows it’s not their fault.

“Why? Well, why not? It’s like, if you have people that you care about, then I feel like it is really important to make sure they understand how much I do care about them,” she said. “They do so much for me.”

So, when she got the official word on Friday it was OK to open again, she couldn’t wait to get going.

“I’m grateful. I’m so grateful. And we got the smoke out,” she said with a laugh. “Kind of get it smelling back to normal, because yesterday, we couldn’t have been open. It smelled like a really bad campfire.”

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Sure enough, customers — both new and loyal — showed up. They knew every business owner in this area could use a good kind of spark.

“We’ve had a good 150 people come in tonight, so it’s going to be a nice first day back,” Eklund said.

Demolition is expected to continue Saturday and Sunday.

Crews will reassess on Monday.

No word yet on when other businesses can open or when evacuated residents in nearby apartments can go back home.

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Restaurant reopens after massive fire in Sugar House forced their doors to close