Story and photo by Doug Petrowski
It will be “three to four months” before the Red Onion restaurant can reopen after it suffered interior damage from a fire earlier this week, owner Seaun Richards said Friday.
A fire that originated in the kitchen area on Oct. 1 has closed the restaurant, located at 23209-56th Ave. W. in Mountlake Terrace, until further notice. While no official word on the cause of the fire has been determined yet, speculation is that a pilot light for the grill was left on after the restaurant closed, causing the grill to heat up excessively and ignite a grease collection on the grill hood.
Firefighters from Fire District 1 and the Lynnwood Fire Department had the fire under control within 15 minutes. No damage estimate in dollars has been announced but Richards believes the building is structurally sound and most, if not all, of the interior equipment is salvageable. The area above the kitchen shows extensive damage from firefighters’ efforts to extinguish flames in the attic, and there is extensive smoke damage throughout the building.
While the restaurant won’t be ready to serve customers anytime soon, Richards hopes to resume some fundraisers on the building’s outdoor deck area.”We’re going to try to have a fundraiser on the 16th for the Cheeseburger Babies Foundation,” he said.
Richards hopes to sell barbecue burgers, chicken and salads on Oct. 16 to benefit various charitable programs in the Mountlake Terrace area that the foundation serves, including the Halloween Trunk ‘R Treat and the holiday season Shop With A Cop.
A Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember, Richards also plans on continuing his personal involvement with a crab feed benefit for the Mountlake Terrace Senior Center on Nov. 4.
The restaurant owner has had a big heart for charitable work in the area since arriving in Mountlake Terrace in 2009. Now Richards is on the receiving end of support.
“I’m very impressed as to how the community has rallied,” he said. Not only have well-wishers continued to come by the restaurant, dozens of supportive messages have flooded the Red Onion Facebook page.
The news isn’t all bad for local patrons of the restaurant; Richards is planning on announcing the location of a second Red Onion that had been in the works before Monday’s fire. That announcement is expected next Tuesday or Wednesday, Oct. 9 or 10.