Giovanni’s On The Hill at 5201 Shaw Ave., was damaged by fire on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Co-owner Carmelo Gabriele said no one was hurt, but the building did suffer substantial damage.
Gabriele said the fire most likely started as a result of some electrical work being done on the restaurant’s second floor. He said that level sustained “extensive damage,” and there was also some smoke and water damage on the first floor, though the kitchen itself was untouched. Gabriele said initially he expects the restaurant to be closed approximately 60 days.
“Initially, it looks like it’ll cost more than $500,000 to get us up and running,” he said. He had no estimate as to when the second floor would reopen.
St. Louis fire department Captain Garon Patrick Mosby confirmed that investigators believe the fire was electrical in nature and accidental.
Gabriele said the company has insurance to help cover employees who will be out of work during the rebuilding, and the company is also working to find positions for them at its other restaurants, Giovanni’s Kitchen in Ladue and Il Bel Lago in Creve Coeur. “Our employees are covered. No one is going to be left out in the cold,” he said.
The restaurant was fully booked for Valentine’s Day, so Gabriele said he and the staff are in the process of contacting those customers and finding them reservations at other places. “We’re making this as easy as possible for our customers,” he said. “They’ve been so good to us for 44 years.”
Editor’s note: This post was updated at 11:15 a.m. Jan. 26 to include information from the St. Louis fire department.
Photo by Allyson Mace
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