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Fire at Great China?

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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. :-(

     
    1. http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/01/2...

      http://www.dailycal.org/2012/01/25/be...

      1 Reply
      1. re: lexdevil

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

      2. 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

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

          1. re: escargot3

            Damn. I hope they were well insured.

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

            1. 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

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

                Any new news? :)

                1. re: slew

                  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

                    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

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

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        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

                          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

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

                          1. re: abstractpoet

                            Web site says closed. I'm pretty sure they would update that.
                            http://greatchinaberkeley.com/

                            1. re: wolfe

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

                      2. re: slew

                        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

                          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

                            That was most recently Looney's.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              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

                              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

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

                              2. re: slew

                                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. 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

                              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

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

                                1. re: bbulkow

                                  LOL. Exactly.

                                  1. re: bbulkow

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

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/851643

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

                                2. 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

                                    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

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

                                  2. 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

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

                                      http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploaded...

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        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

                                          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.

                                          http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ppop/Hom...

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

                                      http://www.berkeleyside.com/2013/03/2...

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Thanks for the update!

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

                                        http://sf.eater.com/archives/2013/03/...

                                        1. re: slew

                                          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

                                            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

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/890969

                                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Plans on the city's web site:

                                          http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploaded...

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

                                            1. re: Crabpaws

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

                                            1. 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

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

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

                                                  1. re: PeterL

                                                    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. 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

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

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

                                                    1. 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

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

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          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

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

                                                      2. 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

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

                                                        2. 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

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

                                                            http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Planni...