Two Alarms

Two Beloved Houston Restaurants Closed by Fires

Bad news comes in twos.

By Katharine Shilcutt March 31, 2015

Wunsche Bros. Cafe & Saloon first opened in 1902.

Fires have taken out some of Houston's best restaurants over the years: Brennan's, which caught fire in the midst of Hurricane Ike; Mai's, where a fire that started in the kitchen gutted the building; MF Sushi, where another kitchen fire was to blame; Late Nite Pie, where it was later determined that the owner had conspired with an employee to burn it down following financial issues; and My Dee Dee's Pie Shoppe, where a fire consumed the entire business overnight. In some of these cases, the restaurants were able to rebuild; others—as with Late Nite Pie and My Dee Dee's—still sit empty and charred years later.

Houston's restaurant scene suffered additional losses when two beloved restaurants caught fire this week, though at least these losses seem to be temporary. Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine in Montrose suffered the least, when a fire broke out near the cash register around 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. Owner Ali Nahhus told Eater Houston that the damage was mostly contained thanks to neighbors calling the Houston Fire Department immediately, and that after only a few days of repair work the Middle Eastern buffet would be open once again by April 1.

Far more devastating was the fire that took out the 113-year-old Wunsche Bros. Cafe & Saloon in Old Town Spring. The Spring Fire Department arrived at the historic restaurant around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning to find an addition built in the 1980s engulfed in flames. The original portion of the restaurant, which opened in 1902 to serve the burgeoning population in Spring, was less affected, suffering only smoke damage. General manager Beth Vincent told the Houston Chronicle that Wunsche Bros. hopes to reopen in the next six weeks.

Despite the original restaurant itself remaining mostly untouched by fire, the smoke damage did manage to destroy much of the decor inside Wunsche Bros.—decor that meant much more to the restaurant than just wallpaper or Chili's-style tchotchkes, leading to a request on Facebook last Sunday afternoon: "The original building suffered a lot of smoke damage and we lost most of the original pictures. If anyone has any pictures they would like to donate please contact us."


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