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Fire Shut Down Pismo’s Coastal Grill. Owner Plans Limited Reopening Wednesday.

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A Sunday night kitchen fire at Pismo’s Coastal Grill dealt another financial blow to owner Dave Fansler who’s already endured months of COVID-19 shutdowns.

Fansler says 2020 will go down as his worst financial year ever.

He says his employees have already endured, closures, the heat of the summer in a temporary tent outside, smoke from wildfires, and at least a 6 mile walk each shift going back and forth to the kitchen.

Some community members have started a GoFundMe page to help him and his employees.

Fansler says he’s very grateful for the offers, but he plans to take care of his employees and donate any money back to the community.

Hoping To Open Wednesday

“If they (Fresno County Health Department) say it’s a go, then we’re going to open at 5 p.m. on Wednesday with a limited menu.”Dave Fansler, Pismo’s Coastal Grill owner

“We just finished demolishing the whole area of the kitchen that had the fire on Sunday. It was our sautéi station with all the under-counter refrigeration,” said Fansler. “That completely burned out, so we demolished all of that. We demolished the wall behind it.”

Fansler says he’s grateful for the efforts of the city’s firefighters who kept the fire from doing more damage.

Crews have already started the process of rebuilding. Fansler said workers on Wednesday will seal off the burned part of the kitchen to make it sanitary ahead of a health department inspection.

“If they (Fresno County Health Department) say it’s a go, then we’re going to open at 5 p.m. on Wednesday with a limited menu,” says Fansler. He’s hopeful that in a couple of weeks he’ll have the necessary equipment to get back to normal business.

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Cause of Fire

Fansler says an 11-year old piece of equipment may be to blame.

“One of the pieces of equipment was not flashed correctly on the install and it was slowly leaking,” explains Fansler. “It had leaked into the interior of the wall.” After an initial small fire was quickly extinguished, it later reignited causing significant damage in the kitchen.

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2020 Financial Woes

“We’re going to be OK. We did get some paycheck protection money (during the COVID-19 closure),” says Fansler. “This (fire) is an insurance expense.”

Fansler said any money raised from the GoFundMe effort will be donated elsewhere.

Pismo’s Coastal Grill sautéi station after Sunday’s fire. (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

“We’re good, folks. Thank you for your support but we don’t need it,” says Fansler. “No one is going to lose 10 cents over this. They’ll all get paid as if they had worked.” He says any money does come in through donations will go to the local food bank.

He says his employees have risen to the occasion all year despite the virus shutdowns, and now the fire. “They’ve just been doing gangbusters. These guys have kicked butt. I’m really proud of them, they’ve really risen to the occasion,” says Fansler.