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Diner Grill Fire Closes Greasy Spoon, But Owner Vows To Rebuild

By Ariel Cheung | December 27, 2016 12:16pm
 A fire broke out at Diner Grill late Christmas Eve.
A fire broke out at Diner Grill late Christmas Eve.
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Instagram/ @thekingofmark

LAKEVIEW — A fire that broke out late Christmas Eve has shuttered the Diner Grill, but its owner plans to rebuild.

The fire began around 9:30 p.m. Christmas Eve, after employees had gone home for the one day a year when the 24-hour diner isn't open, owner Arnold DeMar said Tuesday.

Chicago firefighters were called to the fire around 10:20 p.m. Saturday and found no one inside the diner, the department said. A dozen fire trucks and engines responded.

A cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators have narrowed the fire's origin to refrigeration compressors in the back room, DeMar said.

The Chicago Fire Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

 Diner Grill is closed after a Christmas Eve fire.
Diner Grill is closed after a Christmas Eve fire.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

The 24-hour greasy spoon will reopen, DeMar said. He expects renovations to take about two months, although he said he'll know more after speaking with insurance investigators.

"We're coming back," he pledged. "Everybody's upset they don't have the Diner Grill to go to."

News  of the fire first was reported on Eater.

It isn't the first time DeMar, 80, has had to recover from a fire at the grill. Another blaze in 2008 shuttered the restaurant for remodeling, although that was a minor grease fire, DeMar said.

The 77-year-old restaurant has a devoted following of neighbors and industry workers, who swing by for a bite and a drink at the end of their shifts, DeMar said.

"The rest of the time, it's normal people like you and me," he added. "We appreciate their business, and we look forward to seeing them again when we open back up."

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