For 20 years, Naperville residents Susan and Bill Kazmierski have enjoyed pancakes and omelettes at the original Grandma Sally's Family Restaurant in Naperville.
On Friday morning, Susan stood near the fire-ravaged restaurant's east entrance on Ogden Avenue and shed a tear.
Naperville restaurant firesThe Friday morning blaze at Grandma Sally's Family Restaurant is the third major fire to strike a Naperville restaurant in the past 20 months.
"Any time there's a fire at a long-established business or restaurant that everyone knows, it's a sad situation," Deputy Fire Chief Rick Sander said Friday. "When we're talking to restaurant owners about safety, we tell them to practice safe procedures and get their annual inspections, which they all do. This location is no different."
Here's a quick look back at the fires:
• Nov. 15, 2012: A roof fire causes $100,000 damage and forces the temporary closure of Rosebud at 22 E. Chicago St. in downtown Naperville. A firefighter is injured. The restaurant had moved to its new spot following a larger July 2010 fire at its previous location at 48 W. Chicago Ave.
• A back porch fire causes $200,000 damage and causes the July 6 closure of Rizzo's at 6 W. Jefferson Ave. Rizzo's remains closed with no definite plans to reopen.
• An early morning fire ravages Grandma Sally's Family Restaurant at 405 E. Ogden Ave., causing $400,000 damage. Fire officials are investigating the cause.
"It's really sad. They've been here so long and they've been a part of so many of our Saturday mornings," she said. "I hope they can clean it up, stick around and make it work."
It will be a long way back in the wake of the early morning blaze that swept through the one-story building at 450 E. Ogden Ave., causing an estimated $400,000 damage.
No injuries were reported.
Naperville fire investigators are working to determine what triggered the blaze.
"This fire is still under investigation and we don't know what the cause is," Deputy Chief Rick Sander said. "But the main body of the fire was definitely located in the rear kitchen area of the building. The southwest portion of the building was heavily damaged."
Repair crews were on the scene Friday afternoon boarding up the building and cleaning debris from the perimeter. All of the windows at the front of the restaurant were broken, the siding appeared to have melted off the west side of the building and smoke damage was visible on the entire exterior.
Several well-wishers, many who declined to be interviewed, also stopped by to offer hugs, words of support and in one case, a prayer with one of the owners and his family.
Other customers, unaware of the fire, pulled into the parking lot before crews taped off the entrance around 10:30 a.m.
A man identified as one of the restaurant's owners was at the scene but declined to comment.
Sander said firefighters responded to an alarm at 2:17 a.m. A passer-by called a minute later and told dispatchers heavy black smoke and fire was coming from the rear of the restaurant.
Sander said firefighters found heavy fire inside the building and worked for about an hour to suppress the blaze. A strong smell still engulfed the property Friday afternoon.
Naperville firefighters were assisted at the scene by the Naperville Police Department, Naperville's Emergency Management Agency, the DuPage County Fire Investigation Task Force and several other agencies.
Firefighters from Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Lisle-Woodridge, Lockport, Plainfield, Wheaton and Winfield provided coverage at Naperville's fire stations during the blaze.