CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A fire at the popular 131 Main restaurant in Dilworth caused an estimated $75,000 to $100,000 in damage, according to the Charlotte Fire Department.
The restaurant is closed until further notice, but owner Joe Douglas says it will re-open as soon as possible.
A closer look at the damage shows melting, debris on the floor and bags of garbage being dumped out.
Restoration crews spent Monday sucking out water and clearing the smell of smoke.
Sunday afternoon’s fire started in a kitchen vent. Douglas says he doesn’t know why. That vent is self-contained, but travels eight stories to the roof of the condos above the restaurant.
That's why neighbors saw smoke billowing there.
"Most of the damage was done primarily through the ventilation system. There's probably some damage above the drop ceiling in the kitchen as well as to the mechanical and electrical systems,” Douglas said. "It wasn’t a small event. I wouldn't say it was a huge event, (but) it will take some time to get it fixed.”
Douglas isn't sure how long. He says crews will hustle around the clock to get the restaurant back open.
The fire is keeping about 60 restaurant employees from working.
Douglas says they're still getting paid because his insurance covers employee wages as well as the restaurant.
"All of our team members will continue to make on average what they were making while we are in the process of rebuilding,” Douglas said.
Even thought the smoke and flames shot up that vent, the fire did not damage any of the condos above the restaurant.
Marcy Nussbaum owns one of the condos above 131 Main and says it's a minor inconvenience.
"There was just some damage in the hallways, just a little bit of smoke damage and water damage,” Nussbaum said.
Douglas says even though this was an accident, they've already started looking at what they can do different or better to make sure this doesn't happen again.
This is 131 Main’s second fire since 2010. The first happened because a fryer was not disconnected the right way, Douglas said.