Two Popular Local Restaurants Damaged by Recent Fires Are Back Up and Serving

Villa Sorriso moves its menu to a new “popup” location, while Kathleen’s reopens three days after their fire
Published on Feb 22, 2021

Sorriso Ristorante & Bar moved a few blocks away from its original location and opened a popup version to keep up and running after it suffered a devastating kitchen fire. Kathleen’s Restaurant bounced back within 72 hours from a fire attributed to arson. (Courtesy photos)

Two popular Pasadena restaurants hit by fires over the last 30 days are now operating, with one in a new location and the other in its original location, while it is being repaired.

Villa Sorriso on Colorado Blvd. in Old Pasadena suffered a significant fire to its kitchen area on Jan. 18. The fire was blamed on an electrical malfunction, and the restaurant was expected to remain closed for several months to allow for repairs.

The fire put the restaurant’s kitchen out of commission, according to owner Jack Huang, who said in an interview Sunday, “We had to do something.”

His other restaurant location, Ixtapa, just to the east on Colorado Boulevard, and shuttered by the pandemic, was “available,” he said. It became Huang’s new “pop-up” restaurant.

“We just shifted our Italian menu from Sorriso to Ixtapa and reopened it,” said Huang. “It was a really good opportunity and we took advantage of it.”

Huang said at the time of the fire that the business was insured and he hoped to rebuild and reopen as soon as possible, but he suspected it would take a matter of weeks. Holes in the floor and ceiling will have to be repaired, along with the wall, and the building also sustained significant water damage.

He is currently waiting for the insurance companies involved to complete their investigations and settlements, he said.

Meanwhile Kathleen’s Restaurant on Lake Avenue suffered a fire on the early morning  of February 3. The blaze broke out just after 4:20 a.m., according to city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. Firefighters arrived to find an “exterior fire that extended into the interior and attic.”

Christopher Richer, 37 a 37-year-old transient, was taken into custody later that morning and charged with arson.

But according to owner Kathleen Maymerian, unlike with Sorriso, the restaurant’s kitchen area was not affected by the fire, and the eatery  was able to open three days after the fire.

“We closed the day of the fire February 3, Thursday and Friday,” said Meymerian, “and the health department cleared us to reopen for the weekend, Saturday and Sunday.”

Fortunately, the fire did not affect the restaurant’s kitchen area, and longtime friends, customers and supporters were quick to respond to the popular restaurant’s plight.

“It was an overwhelming show of support that weekend that we reopened,” said a grateful Maymerian Sunday.

“It was just crazy. People came out of the woodwork to support us with takeout food and monetary gifts,  and it was just wonderful.”

Maymerian estimated that full repairs could take at least two months, “only because of all the insurance adjusters and getting bids from contractors. It’s turning into a bigger project than we had anticipated.”

Kathleen’s is at  595 N Lake Avenue in Pasadena. For more see the menu at  or call (626) 578-0722.

Sorriso Ristorante & Bar Popup is at 119 E. Colorado Boulevard, Old Pasadena. For more call (626) 405-1000.

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