Cigarette may have caused fire at Gregoria’s Kitchen

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 09:41 PM

A fire that heavily damaged Gregoria’s Kitchen early Wednesday was caused by “improperly discarded smoking materials – possibly a cigarette,” Durham fire officials said Thursday.

The fire at the Cuban eatery at 2818 Chapel Hill Road forced it to close for repairs. The owner, Fares Hanna, said it could be two months before it reopens.

Firefighters got the call at 1:10 a.m. and were at the scene for nearly two hours.

Hanna said the restaurant’s attic was destroyed “and the ceiling is charred, so we’ll have to replace all of that.”

Gregoria’s opened in September 2011 at the former Peddler Steakhouse.

Hanna said business had steadily improved in the weeks before the fire.

He said 12 employees worked there, and he plans to move some staff to other restaurants he owns at Duke University – Blue Express and Twinnie’s Café.