Crews respond to kitchen fire at Charlie Hooper’s in Brookside
More than two months after a kitchen fire forced it to temporarily close, Charlie Hooper’s Brookside Bar & Grille plans to reopen this week.
The longtime neighborhood favorite, at 12 W. 63rd St., will open its doors at 11 a.m. Friday.
Charlie Hooper’s will get up to speed this weekend. Then it will have a grand opening week with specials and giveaways from its vendors, each day starting Aug. 26.
It temporarily closed after a Father’s Day fire. About 20 customers were evacuated when smoked filled the restaurant and bar. No one was hurt. At the time, the owners said it “could be three or four days, or three or four weeks” before they could reopen.
But renovation was delayed, the owners said, as five different insurance companies fought over which one would have to pay.
“We had smoke damage so you had decisions to make. Do you want to clean that wood or replace it?” said Chris Lewellen, owner with his brother, Andy. “We struggled to keep the 35-year-old integrity and look of Hooper’s. Replacing things would have been the easier way to do it.”
Most of the damage was in the kitchen area, which has been renovated and upgraded. August is also a slower month for Charlie Hooper’s, until football season kicks off. So the reopening is timely. The business sent out an email blast to its Rewards Program members to announce the reopening: “So come see us ... we’ve missed you!”
“We’ve never had to close a business before. We’ve never had a fire before. Were our employees going to leave us?” Lewellen said. “And you always wonder where are your customers at and will they come back? But just the feedback I’m getting ... people have missed Charlie Hooper’s, and our employees are coming back.”