Jul 28, 2014 10:25 PM by Lauren Reimer

Customers mourn the loss of another local restaurant

TUCSON - Guadalajara Fiesta Grill, near Broadway and Kolb, burned nearly to the ground Saturday morning. Firefighters had to work from the outside because of the strong flames.

Back in May, fire consumed part of the Guadalajara Original Grill near Prince and Campbell. That fire also started just before 5 a.m.

At the ‘Fiesta' location, the walls are still standing, but the roof collapsed in the fire. The entire building will have to be torn down and eventually rebuilt.

Until then, customers like Denise Isom will have to find a new place to go for lunch. "We were thinking of coming today after some meetings," said Isom. "And we brought up this place and we had to chose somewhere else today."

That's because their favorite local Mexican restaurant is locked away behind chain link fencing, destroyed by a fire.

"I'm sad that the restaurant is closed but I'm glad that no one was injured," said another past customer, Paige Sanders.

News 4 Tucson met with owner Seth Holzman Monday afternoon. He declined an interview, but did post on the Guadalajara Fiesta Grill's Facebook page saying, "We will rebuild and we will reopen as soon as is humanly possible."

But first, investigators have to figure out what started the fire, a question that has not yet been answered.

"When we're dealing with a small home that has a fire in one single bedroom, then obviously something like that can sometimes be cut and dry. But when you take a commercial restaurant like that, of that size, and you see the damage that's involved, it's just going to be slower," said Captain Barrett Baker with the Tucson Fire Department.

Just two months ago, another Guadalajara Grill burned. This one, the 'Original,' is owned by Holzman's ex wife, Emma Vera.

Holzman says he will not entertain any talk that these two fires may be connected. He says the restaurants have operated separately since 2011.

The Guadalajara Original Grill responded with its own statement, saying, "Although we are no longer associated with Guadalajara Fiesta Grill on Kolb Rd. We are deeply saddened by their loss. We wish them all the best in their rebuilding."

The 'Original' location is still being rebuilt and could re-open as soon as September. A cause for that fire was never determined.


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