A small fire Monday -- which neighbors say involved a flue in the chimney of Il Vicino's kitchen -- has temporarily shuttered two Clayton eateries.Sansai
and Il Vicino, both located at Central Avenue and Maryland in downtown Clayton, have signs on their doors announcing the temporary closings. Yellow police tape cordons off the entrances.
Two neighboring businesses -- Busy Bee Shoe Repair & Alterations and Clayton Barber Shop -- have also been forced to close their doors. Owners of those shops tell Gutcheck that their best guess is that they can reopen in a week.
"We don't have electricity," says Maria Mathias, who owns Busy Bee. "We're waiting until they put the electricity back on."
Both Mathias and Gary Mautner, who owns the barber shop, say that they've been told that a fire started in the flue at Il Vicino Monday morning. The fire department arrived on the scene, but then at least one water pipe burst, flooding the basements of surrounding businesses and causing some serious mud issues on the first floor.
The mud was almost entirely washed away by Wednesday morning, but cleaning crews were still on the scene. The electricity remained off.
Not surprisingly, no one answered the phone at Il Vicino. A sign on the doorway directs customers to its website
, although Gutcheck could find no information about the fire on that site. (No corporate phone number was listed, either.) Sansai's phone was also not working; a sign on its door directed customers to its locations in Maplewood, Webster Groves, Kirkwood and downtown.
We left a message for Clayton's fire chief. We'll update this post if we hear back today.
Mautner, who's been operating the barber shop on site for 15 years, says that since his business is closed Mondays, he didn't hear about the fire until he reported for work Tuesday.
"I was not contacted," he says. "It was a big surprise when I drove up to the parking lot yesterday morning."
Like Busy Bee's Mathias, Mautner has posted himself outside his shop to field inquiries from patrons and passersby. "I've been telling customers I'm willing to go to their homes and cut their hair there," he tells Gutcheck.
But the strategy isn't making up for lost revenue -- not yet anyway.
"The last six refused," Mautner reports.