Though we’d heard through the grapevine that Chiang House owners Jong and Li Yun Chiang plan to rebuild after the blaze that destroyed their restaurant nearly three weeks ago, we were happy to get that information straight from the source.
“All the insurance information was in the building,” Jong Chiang explained. “We are waiting for the insurance company to send us a copy of the contract.” Unfortunately, that process is taking longer than Chiang hoped. “Right now, money is the number one problem. We don’t know how much insurance will cover.”
He says he hopes to be able to rebuild bigger and better, including the addition of Japanese gardens inside the new building. At this point, however, he doesn’t know whether he will replace the ponds stocked with koi, which all perished in the fire.
According to a press release from the Fire Marshal’s office, the blaze was sparked close to midnight on Friday, March 8, by a soldering torch being used by employees for plumbing repairs in the restroom. At first contained in the wall, the fire quickly spread to the roof. It wasn’t until nearly 2am that employees still in the building noticed smoke seeping through the ceiling tiles.
“It was about 1:30am,” Li Yun tells Dish. “My daughter noticed smoke coming out of the ceiling. At first, I thought maybe it was somebody smoking [a cigarette] because we couldn’t see any fire.”
Li Yun and her daughter ran into the kitchen, where she says the smoke was heavier, but they still found no flames. “We went to call 911,” she says, “but the phone was already dead.”
Fortunately, a police cruiser was just outside the building, and the Chiangs were able to flag it down. Though five local firehouses responded to the blaze, the property sustained nearly $800,000 in damages.
Long-time locals will recall that the Chiang House location was once Sackett’s, an old western style saloon, before briefly serving as the home of The Hunter’s Inn, which called its bar area The Snooty Fox Pub.
When the Chiangs took over the space in 1993, they added the blue paint and Asian influence that made the building so recognizable. We’re sure the new Chiang House will look different, and so we can’t wait to see what rises from the ashes.
It’s been open since February 15, but Thursday, March 28, marks the official grand opening of Taqueria la Azteca, the new Mexican spot over on Greenbrier Drive, just a stone’s throw from the Greenbrier Guadalajara.
Taqueria la Azteca, owned by Lily Jara and Martha Campos, will offer traditional fare such as tamales and tacos, quesadillas, sopes, and flautas, as well as specials which will change daily. The duo learned how to cook in Mexico, Jara says, though Azteca is their first venture.
For the grand opening celebration, all patrons will receive 10 percent off.