Chili Verde hopes to reopen Thursday after a kitchen fire

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Last Wednesday, there was a lot more cooking in Chili Verde's kitchen than the traditional Pueblan fare. Thanks to a fryer that caught flames, the entire kitchen almost ended up well done. Luckily, the fire didn't spread, and Eder Yanez-Mota, who owns the restaurant at 3700 Tejon Street with his brother, Hanzel, hopes to reopen on Thursday.

Yanez-Mota was in the office when a waitress alerted him to the fact that there was a fire in the kitchen. He saw copious amounts of smoke billowing from the fryer and attacked it with two fire extinguishers. They didn't do the job, but the fire department showed up soon after because it had noticed the smoke coming from the restaurant.

The firefighters were able to contain the damage to the kitchen, but Yanez-Mota will have to replace a number of appliances, all the food that was in the kitchen and the kitchen roof; he also has to repaint the kitchen.

"When I went back inside, I noticed the fire department was putting holes in the ceiling," says Yanez-Mota. "I thought, 'Oh, no, don't do that!" But I know they had to."

Yanez-Mota says his insurance company suggested he close for a month, but he knew he couldn't afford to do that during the holiday season. The restaurant is undergoing inspections tomorrow morning to make sure it's ready, and the restaurant should be open in time for the majority of the holiday parties that were planned -- and come Thursday, guests can enjoy the restaurant's award-winning crepes, among other dishes.

"A lot of people were calling the restaurant and were really worried," recounts Yanez-Mota. "We're going to call the people whose reservations were canceled and do something special for them."

For more information, call 303-477-1377.

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