MIDTOWN — A grease fire that broke out in the venting system at Gallagher's Steak House shuttered the famed restaurant during the St. Patrick's Day dinner rush, staff and fire officials said.
Line cook Gulbert Pierre-Louis said that he was manning the grill about 6:30 p.m. when a strange noise started coming from the venting duct.
"There was some noise and some black smoke came out," he said.
This is the first problem he said he's seen in the restaurant since it underwent a multi-million dollar renovation after being sold in 2013.
The smell of the smoke overpowered the restaurant workers, sending them fleeing into East 52nd Street, he said.
Diners who gathered on the street hoping to make their reservations were disappointed by the turn of events.
Karen and Peter Sullivan, tourists from Liverpool, England, had looked forward to reprising a memorable dinner of New York Strip, medium rare, and shrimp they had in 2001, the last time they were in the city.
"I really liked this restaurant," Karen Sullivan said. "It was the highlight of my trip."
The fire was under control by 8:15 p.m., according to the FDNY.