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Kitchen fire causes heavy damage to Hamilton's Tavern & Cafe in South Park

Posted at 9:05 AM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 15:32:06-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A kitchen fire caused an estimated $1 million in damage at a popular South Park restaurant/bar early Wednesday morning.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials said crews were called to Hamilton's Tavern & Cafe, located on 1531 30th Street, at around 5:30 a.m. in response to a fire in the establishment’s kitchen area.

ABC 10News learned flames burned into the bar’s dining hall and caused some damage to part of a brewery next door.

Hamilton’s owner Scott Blair said, “The first thing I thought is I hope everyone’s OK … you’re just like, I hope everyone’s ok because a neighborhood of people living in that building.”

As nearby residents were evacuated, crews were able to knock down the flames within 25 minutes, SDFD officials said.

Due to the heavy damage to the kitchen, it is believed Hamilton’s Tavern may not be able to operate for the next few months.

The restaurant/bar has been shut down since July and was operating out of its sister brewery because it was larger. Hamilton’s had just started operating outdoors this past weekend due to San Diego County being moved into the state’s restrictive COVID-19 purple tier.

According to Blair, the kitchen was their lifeline to stay open. With it completely destroyed they’re unsure where they go from here.

“The pandemic has been a nightmare,” Blair told ABC 10News. “It’s gonna take more than this to hang it up. We’ll fight, that’s what we do.”

SDFD officials said the fire caused an estimated $500,000 in structural damage and $500,000 in damage to its contents.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

No injuries were reported.