A fire originating in Equinox’s kitchen at 3 this morning quickly spread through the restaurant’s electrical system, destroying its 1,000-pound transformer and engulfing the kitchen and private-dining room in flames. While fire marshals have yet to determine the exact cause of the incident, co-owner Ellen Gray says that it’ll take the contemporary American eatery near the White House at least two weeks before it can reopen.
“You build a business for ten years and then this happens. It’s devastating, especially going into the busiest week of the year,” Gray said. “We’re fortunate, though, that nobody was hurt. This is just stuff. We hope to be back and running in early January.”
In the meantime, the staff is calling everyone who has booked a table through December to notify them of the situation. They’re encouraging patrons to transfer their reservations to Aria, where chef/owner Todd Gray will cook until his own kitchen reopens.
“Todd is good friends with the folks at Aria,” Ellen Gray said. “They called him at 7:30 this morning, asking him if he wanted to come in and man the kitchen. He’ll be cooking stuff from our menu over there, which is exactly what he needs to be doing at a time like this: cooking. There’s nothing more he can do over here right now.”
As Gray led the restaurant’s designer and PR representative past a team of electricians, plumbers, and cleaners who have been working around the clock since the incident, she paused to say just how lucky she felt.
“This place could have been completely destroyed,” she said. “Had the fire department not been on the scene so quickly, it would’ve been a total loss. There have been so many great people helping out so far that you really realize how amazing this community is. The show must go on.”
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