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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mission Fire Leaves Lotus Garden Shuttered; Blue Plate, Los Panchos Open as Usual

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 5:03 PM

click to enlarge Wednesday night's fire at 3212 Mission (at 29th St.) left extensive damage at Lotus Garden. - SFIST
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  • Wednesday night's fire at 3212 Mission (at 29th St.) left extensive damage at Lotus Garden.

When the three-alarm fire broke out two doors away last night at 3212 Mission, the Blue Plate restaurant was just filling up its 70 seats, says Sean Thomas, the chef de cuisine who was on the line at the time. "Some of the cooks and some of the servers noticed it, mainly because there were all these people standing outside taking pictures," Thomas tells SFoodie. By the time staff and patrons stared to smell smoke, police and fire officials rushed in to tell everybody they had to evacuate. Pronto. "It was clear that everybody had to go," Thomas says.

Surprisingly, Blue Plate was unaffected. The restaurant is open for regular hours today. No water damage, no lingering smell of smoke.

The ground-floor restaurant on the other side of the burned building, Los Panchos, did suffer some damage ― a little fire and water damage to one of the bathrooms and other parts at the rear of the space. Anna, one of the counter staff at the Mexican and Salvadoran restaurant, tells SFoodie that 95 percent of the restaurant was unaffected. Staff were working on repairs today, while Los Panchos was open for business as usual ― unlike Lotus Garden (3216 Mission), the Vietnamese restaurant on the other side of the burned building from Los Panchos, which suffered significant damage and is closed indefinitely.

Meanwhile, late this afternooon at Blue Plate, co-owner Jeff Trenam was closing out last night's still-open checks. Have customers been calling to see if the restaurant is still open? "The only calls I've gotten," Trenam says, "were from a couple of people offering to pay their bills from last night."

Jonathan Kauffman contributed reporting to this post.

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