FlapJacks Diner's original El Camino Avenue store is slated to reopen later this summer, two years after it was destroyed in a kitchen fire, owner Frank Tofanelli said.
Crews recently began installing sheetrock around the building's frame, and Tofanelli estimated he was six to seven weeks away from being ready to serve customers, putting the reopening sometime in mid-August.
New tile, carpeting and interior finishing are also needed in addition to the standard city inspections and licensing all restaurants face before opening. Most of FlapJacks' employees from the time of the fire will return to work once the restaurant reopens, Tofanelli said.
An electrical short in FlapJacks' ice maker caused the building at 2721 El Camino Ave. to go up in flames one Saturday night in July 2016. Tofanelli thought he would be able to reopen in four months at the time, and he signed an 18-month lease where the Guy Fieri restaurant Johnny Garlic's used to be at 2243 Arden Way.
Battles with a contractor and an insurance company repeatedly delayed the El Camino Avenue's reopening, however, and the Arden Way lease expired at the end of January. FlapJacks was making about $90,000 per month in sales before the fire, Tofanelli said, and lost out on an estimated $500,000 due to the move and business delays in reopening.
"In the end, it's all my fault because I hired all the wrong people," Tofanelli said. "We miss seeing our customers, we miss seeing our employees and we cannot wait to see those people again."
Tofanelli applied for a California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control beer and wine license on May 14, and he plans to add mimosas to FlapJacks' weekend brunch menu when it reopens. The restaurant will also serve espresso and new baked goods, Tofanelli said, in addition to its flagship breakfast dishes and burgers.
The Bee's Benjy Egel is launching a new effort to cover Sacramento's dining and beer scene. Please send tips and story ideas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BenjyEgel or by phone at (916) 321-1052.