Food News

Early-Morning Fire Reported at Backstreet Cafe

The restaurant from Tracy Vaught and Hugo Ortega was closed for just one day.

By Timothy Malcolm August 16, 2019

Chef Hugo Ortega.

UPDATE: According to H-Town Restaurant Group, which operates Backstreet Cafe, the restaurant re-opened for business at noon Saturday.


Backstreet Cafe, one of Houston's most iconic restaurants, will be closed temporarily after a fire broke out in its kitchen Friday morning. 

According to Sean Beck, beverage director at Backstreet Cafe, a cook spotted the fire in a gas line inside a kitchen wall Friday. Houston firefighters were called to the scene around 7:30 a.m., according to a report from the Houston Chronicle. HFD District 6 Chief Dennis Fisher said because the gas line was on fire, and hadn't exploded, a more serious situation was avoided, according to the Chronicle.

Beck said Backstreet—which was opened by former geologist Tracy Vaught in 1983 and became a culinary destination after Hugo Ortega, her husband, took the reins as executive chef—will be closed "for a couple days while we replace the kitchen wall and clean up the interior of the restaurant."

Ortega and Vaught were on the scene Friday morning after the fire had been reported.

“We are sad to report that we had a small fire early this morning at Backstreet Cafe, but thankfully no one was injured and the building is intact thanks to the quick response of Houston Fire Department," said Vaught in a statement late Friday morning. "The fire started in and was contained to a small part of the wall above one of the stoves, and the damaged area is being assessed to figure out exact cause. We are closed for business today and awaiting testing to see if we can reopen as soon as tomorrow. As soon as they are complete, we will know more, and will update everyone. Thank you for your concern and support.” 

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