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Fire at Great China?

lexdevil Jan 25, 2012 09:40 PM

Just heard from one of my students that Great China was just evacuated due to a fire in the building. I hope that everyone is okay.

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  1. lexdevil RE: lexdevil Jan 25, 2012 10:21 PM


    1. lexdevil RE: lexdevil Jan 25, 2012 11:22 PM



      1 Reply
      1. re: lexdevil
        shanghaikid RE: lexdevil Jan 26, 2012 05:35 AM

        the fire department should post a "no smoking" sign near that flu/

      2. escargot3 RE: lexdevil Jan 26, 2012 08:27 PM

        really bad news:
        the fire started in the kitchen of Great China. The resto will be closed for 6 months...
        for you wine affecionados: the wine cellar is lost.

        2 Replies
        1. re: escargot3
          tomotsu RE: escargot3 Jan 26, 2012 08:34 PM

          That's awful. Easily one of the best wine lists in the bay area and clearly lovingly put together.

          1. re: escargot3
            Robert Lauriston RE: escargot3 Jan 27, 2012 09:23 AM

            Damn. I hope they were well insured.

          2. Robert Lauriston RE: lexdevil Jan 27, 2012 02:24 PM

            Some more photos: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/is...

            1. Robert Lauriston RE: lexdevil Feb 9, 2012 09:01 AM

              Semi-good news, a report that the voicemail message said they'll reopen April 15, i.e. in three months rather than six: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8325...

              16 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                slew RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 19, 2012 02:51 PM

                Well... So much for this window of time...

                Any new news? :)

                1. re: slew
                  chocolatetartguy RE: slew Apr 19, 2012 03:53 PM

                  No announcement in the window as of last week. Same for China Village as of last Monday. I am really missing both and have given up trying to find a suitable replacement. At least this weekend I will be in the City and can go to San Tung.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                    Ruth Lafler RE: chocolatetartguy Apr 19, 2012 04:30 PM

                    My Mom said that Great China has reopened (as of a couple of days ago). The phone message at China Village says that after the fire they are remodeling and will be closed for 3-4 months, which would project out to some time in August.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      chocolatetartguy RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 19, 2012 05:25 PM

                      Wish I had known that yesterday. I would have had chicken curry for lunch.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        Robert Lauriston RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 19, 2012 05:51 PM

                        I just drove by, Great China's windows are still covered and they still have the signs up saying they'll reopen in April.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          chocolatetartguy RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 19, 2012 06:23 PM

                          That's what I saw when I walked by last week and I remember noting that there was no line in front on Saturday as there would normally be.

                        2. re: Ruth Lafler
                          abstractpoet RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 19, 2012 05:52 PM

                          Huh. Answering machine at Great China seems dead. Anyone confirm that they're open?

                          1. re: abstractpoet
                            wolfe RE: abstractpoet Apr 19, 2012 06:04 PM

                            Web site says closed. I'm pretty sure they would update that.

                            1. re: wolfe
                              Ruth Lafler RE: wolfe Apr 20, 2012 09:09 AM

                              Oh no! If I can't trust my Mom, who can I trust?

                      2. re: slew
                        slew RE: slew May 24, 2012 11:19 AM

                        From their web site...

                        'Attention dedicated Great China customers, Great China will not be opening at the original location on Kittredge St. Great China’s NEW ADDRESS is 2190 BANCROFT WAY in Berkeley which is one block away from Kittredge St. Construction is currently underway and our opening date will be sometime in Spring 2013. Please visit our website or facebook page for constant updates and pictures of the process on the new better and bigger location. You can also sign up for our newsletter by entering your email address on our blog page.

                        Again, we thank you all for your patience and support.'

                        1. re: slew
                          Ruth Lafler RE: slew May 24, 2012 12:08 PM

                          I think that's good news (except for the long delay). Sometimes it's better to start over with a clean slate.

                          1. re: slew
                            Robert Lauriston RE: slew May 24, 2012 12:31 PM

                            That was most recently Looney's.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              chocolatetartguy RE: Robert Lauriston May 29, 2012 07:00 PM

                              I remember that the owner told me that he was considering that location back when the Thai restaurant that was there before Looney's closed.

                            2. re: slew
                              nicedragonboy RE: slew May 24, 2012 01:20 PM

                              I agree. I think they could really do good things with that space. And they'll finally have some parking space...albeit somewhat limited.

                              1. re: nicedragonboy
                                Robert Lauriston RE: nicedragonboy May 24, 2012 02:34 PM

                                They had some validated parking, when the car wash across the street was closed.

                              2. re: slew
                                escargot3 RE: slew May 29, 2012 05:03 PM

                                now that's an interesting new twist to the tale of woes. here's hoping they maintain their same high quality standards. it might finally be a successful business in that forever doomed location.

                          2. Robert Lauriston RE: lexdevil Apr 28, 2012 11:13 AM

                            I saw James Yu (the chef's son & wine buyer) at Revival, where he's working as a server. Apparently they can't just make repairs, they have to bring everything up to code, so it's going to be a while.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              Ruth Lafler RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 28, 2012 12:04 PM

                              An update was desperately needed, IMHO. I remember a a chowdown there many years ago our table was next to an electrical outlet that was clearly not code and unsafe.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                bbulkow RE: Ruth Lafler Apr 28, 2012 05:14 PM

                                You mean, the kind of thing that would cause a fire?

                                1. re: bbulkow
                                  Ruth Lafler RE: bbulkow Apr 28, 2012 05:28 PM

                                  LOL. Exactly.

                                  1. re: bbulkow
                                    Robert Lauriston RE: bbulkow Apr 29, 2012 08:02 AM

                                    I think they did a bunch of work on the wiring two or three years ago. The fire actually started in the kitchen, hot oil got into the range hood.

                              2. Robert Lauriston RE: lexdevil May 30, 2012 11:58 AM

                                Split-off thread on Mandarin Garden having one of Great China's cooks and making some of the Korean-Chinese dishes:


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  chocolatetartguy RE: Robert Lauriston May 30, 2012 04:00 PM

                                  Thanks, I was too lazy and busy fighting fires at work to think of the obvious solution.

                                2. h
                                  hyperbowler RE: lexdevil Aug 1, 2012 01:09 PM

                                  Via their Facebook page, they will be reopening at 2190 Bancroft in Spring 2013

                                  Edit: just noticed the same message posted upstream in the thread! Good to see they're still on schedule :-)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: hyperbowler
                                    slew RE: hyperbowler Aug 1, 2012 03:03 PM

                                    I'm just wondering when they do eventually re-open, will they have the same cook(s)/chef(s) and will the food quality be the same as before the fire...

                                    1. re: slew
                                      Robert Lauriston RE: slew Aug 1, 2012 04:10 PM

                                      The chef is the owner so food quality should eventually be the same.

                                  2. PeterL RE: lexdevil Feb 18, 2013 09:16 PM

                                    After a very disappointing lunch at Mandarin Garden, hoping it can replace Great China (it can't), we decided to walk by the supposed new Great China location on Bancroft. (BTW the old location will be opening as "Arabica" or something like that.). I am sorry to report that the place is nowhere near ready for any restaurant opening anytime soon. No sign that it will become Great China. No sign that any work is being done. There is no new updates on it's FB page. Sorry for the bad news.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: PeterL
                                      Robert Lauriston RE: PeterL Feb 19, 2013 08:21 AM

                                      Their use permit was approved in October. It's a pretty ambitious expansion.


                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        PeterL RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 19, 2013 09:41 AM

                                        Well, I hope the lack of activities yesterday was due to the holidays. But if as you say, it's a pretty ambitious expansion, one would hope that they'd work through the weekend. Just because there is a use permit does not mean that work is in progress. I hope I am wrong but from what I saw yesterday, this place is not opening anytime soon.

                                        1. re: PeterL
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: PeterL Feb 19, 2013 10:52 AM

                                          The building permit is still in plan check. That means their architect or contractor is going back and forth with the city on the details, or just waiting for the city.


                                    2. Robert Lauriston RE: lexdevil Mar 26, 2013 03:30 PM

                                      Berkeleyside reports construction is set to begin at the new location and they hope to open in August:


                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        slew RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 27, 2013 10:00 AM

                                        Thanks for the update!

                                        I also saw a 'blurb' about it at EATER too...


                                        1. re: slew
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: slew Mar 27, 2013 11:26 AM

                                          That's just a pointer to the story on Berkeleyside. Typical no-value-added Eater post. The old place had sprinklers.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            sundeck sue RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 27, 2013 12:12 PM

                                            Any inside info re China Village re-opening? Last I heard they were estimating March. Realize these things always take longer than originally estimated.....

                                            1. re: sundeck sue
                                              Robert Lauriston RE: sundeck sue Mar 27, 2013 12:26 PM


                                        2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2013 04:13 PM

                                          Plans on the city's web site:


                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            Crabpaws RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2013 04:43 PM

                                            Oh, no, now it's August!!!

                                            1. re: Crabpaws
                                              Robert Lauriston RE: Crabpaws Apr 8, 2013 04:46 PM

                                              Spring was never realistic given that they're just now starting construction.

                                              The Yus were were planning to move Great China to the new location anyway eventually, they bought the building some time ago and were Looney's landlords. The fire merely accelerated their plans.

                                          2. c
                                            Crabpaws RE: lexdevil Apr 8, 2013 04:45 PM

                                            It may have been unsafe, but that old location had such post-war (or even pre-war) charm. (WWII, that is.)

                                            1. Robert Lauriston RE: lexdevil Apr 22, 2013 03:01 PM

                                              from Facebook:

                                              UPDATE: We are glad to say that we have officially began construction and we project the opening to be about 6 months out. It is a bit later than we had anticipated but we feel very confident that we will be able to be open in August or September of 2013. We apologize for any confusion and we really appreciate all of your support and positive comments through this down time. We really can't wait to get back to serving all of our loyal patrons! We will be updating the status periodically and will include pictures of the construction progress. Thanks again!

                                              ~Great China Restaurant

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                hungree RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 22, 2013 03:04 PM

                                                6 months?! you'll find me in walnut creek/pleasant hill

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                  PeterL RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 22, 2013 05:42 PM

                                                  It is now late April, almost May. 6 months out is not August or September.

                                                  1. re: PeterL
                                                    Robert Lauriston RE: PeterL Apr 22, 2013 05:46 PM

                                                    Maybe they wrote that last month when they got their building permit and it took them a while to post it. Regardless, any estimate is a wild guess given all the potential delays.

                                                2. c
                                                  chocolatetartguy RE: lexdevil Apr 30, 2013 03:13 PM

                                                  I was heartened today to see one of those small bulldozers and a big truck begin the actual demollition of part of the building on the new site. The construction seems to have begun in earnest.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                                    Robert Lauriston RE: chocolatetartguy Jul 28, 2013 11:03 AM

                                                    Construction has been continuing but given the state of things this week I'd be amazed if they were open in September.

                                                  2. Robert Lauriston RE: lexdevil Aug 15, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                    Facebook post this morning says they'll reopen sometime in October.

                                                    1. h
                                                      hyperbowler RE: lexdevil Oct 23, 2013 05:54 PM

                                                      Facebook "UPDATE: Construction is coming along nicely for our new location, however, unfortunately due to some unexpected delays we have pushed back the opening date to mid-late November 2013. Sorry to keep everyone waiting! We are doing our best to get open as soon as possible. Thank you again for all of your continued support."

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: hyperbowler
                                                        Robert Lauriston RE: hyperbowler Oct 23, 2013 06:31 PM

                                                        Yeah, I walked by a week ago and it was pretty clearly not going to be done this month.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                          chocolatetartguy RE: Robert Lauriston Oct 24, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                          I work almost across the street from the new site. They are making progress and have added wood paneling to the facade. Yesterday I saw one of the hosts, the younger bald guy, conferring with someone out front.

                                                          1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                                            Robert Lauriston RE: chocolatetartguy Oct 24, 2013 11:58 AM

                                                            That would be James Yu, the chef's son and wine buyer.

                                                      2. Melanie Wong RE: lexdevil Nov 27, 2013 12:23 PM

                                                        A friend just reported in from inside Great China, says it looks great, still some work to finish up, and looking to open in early December.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                          slew RE: Melanie Wong Nov 27, 2013 12:53 PM

                                                          Maybe just in time to get itself settled and prepared for the coming Chinese New Year mayhem at the end of January... ^_-

                                                        2. escargot3 RE: lexdevil Nov 27, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                          glad the interior is looking nice.

                                                          is it true that they chose to occupy the parking lot area with expanded restaurant space? bummer

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: escargot3
                                                            Robert Lauriston RE: escargot3 Nov 27, 2013 01:39 PM

                                                            They expanded the building's footprint and reduced the number of parking spaces from eight to five.


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