Honest mistakes lead to fire at decades-old East County restaurant

Wong's Golden Palace is expected to reopen
Posted at 4:45 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 19:45:40-04

LA MESA (KGTV) - A decades-old La Mesa restaurant won’t be serving faithful customers for a few weeks.  A grease fire gutted the kitchen at Wong’s Golden Palace on University Avenue Tuesday.

Owner Jeff Wong told 10News some grease caught fire on a stove after it was accidentally left on and hot.  Wong said he and a cook tried to extinguish the fire but it got out of control too fast.

“I was just hoping for the best.  I was hoping there’d be minimal damage,” said Wong, whose parents opened the Golden Palace in 1966.

“I feel very sorry for them because they’ve been there forever,” said customer Gretchen Schafer.

Wong said La Mesa police and firefighters were at his restaurant within minutes and did a great job of keeping it from spreading from the kitchen.  Early estimates put the damage at roughly $300,000.

“Yeah, I don’t believe it’s going to be that much you know,” said Wong, who added he’d try to do as much of the repairs himself to avoid costly insurance rate increases.

Wong said the Golden Palace will reopen as soon as possible.