Fire closes Mandarin House in La Jolla

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SAN DIEGO — Firefighters quickly extinguished a blaze that broke out Tuesday morning at a restaurant in La Jolla.

The non-injury fire was reported around 9:50 a.m. at the Mandarin House on La Jolla Boulevard, just south of Bonair Street, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Monica Munoz said.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the roof of the single-story restaurant, Munoz said. Crews knocked down the flames within 10 minutes.

“There was a point at which it looked really bad with black smoke billowing from the roof,” a witness told FOX 5.

The cause of the fire was grease buildup in the kitchen vent, according to fire investigators. The fire was confined to the kitchen area. No one was inside at the time.

“Just lucky that no one got hurt,” restaurant owner Nelson Law told FOX 5.

Law said that the phone was ringing off the hook with concerned customers.

“Definitely a lot of calls,” Law said. “People have been reaching out, walking by, and just poking their head in and letting us know that they’re sad it happened.”

Mandarin House has been operating on La Jolla Boulevard for more than four decades. Law’s late father, Tat “John” Law and his partner Wai “Bill” Man worked their way up from dish washers and delivery boys to head chefs in Hong Kong. They opened the La Jolla restaurant in 1977.

“We used to come here all the time when I was kid,” said long-time patron Catherine Judd. “It’s a historic spot.”

Law expects to reopen in four to six weeks.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but everyone is excited for us to rebuild remodel and reopen,” Law said.

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