Char Steak and Lounge reopens after fire

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Last month a fire nearly destroyed the kitchen at the Char Steak and Lounge Restaurant, which is located inside the Strathallan Hotel.

It officially reopened on Thursday with the kitchen is back up and running, providing a full menu for all its customers.

News10NBC’s Patrick Moussignac was there on the night of the fire and shared what happened, "I just finished my dinner when all of sudden a security guard came out of the kitchen and asked everyone to leave immediately saying the kitchen is on fire."

As quickly as a fire started inside the main kitchen at Char, Rochester firefighters arrived and were able to put it out in a matter of minutes. Hundreds of guests were not only evacuated from the restaurant but the hotel itself.

General Manager Paul Walters said although the Oct. 15 fire was unfortunate, reopening the kitchen this week was a number one priority for the hotel.

"Yeah, we have a lot of guests that enjoy our service here at Char. We have long-term employees that have been here for several years so it was definitely our goal to get back open quickly, and service our guests," said Walters.

Loyal patrons wee happy the kitchen is reopened as well.

"I like to come here after work every so often, and it’s great to see everything is in great shape, and better than ever," said Neil Ward.

His friend John Whitney added, "Already had COVID which shut everything down and then having something like this on top of it just kind of exacerbates it all. So it’s kind of nice to see they were able to open so expediently."

The restaurant’s bar remained open while the kitchen was temporarily closed. With no food to serve some food servers were out of work, but not out of money. The hotel’s ownership compensated the staff during their absence.

Lead Server Mark Potter said, "It’s absolutely everything that they, I mean we have mortgages. We have rent, and they invested in the staff cause they view us as a family."

With the fire behind them now, Char is expecting to be packed with guests on its first weekend serving food again.

"We’ve got a lot of interest from our guests in the hotel as well as our long loyal guests that come back to Char quite a bit. They’re excited to be here. We’re excited to have them," Walters said.

He went on to say the full cause of the fire still hasn’t been determined yet. Fortunately, it was contained to only one part of the kitchen.