Two-alarm fire closes Arden-area restaurant
Twenty-seven employees of FlapJacks suddenly lost their jobs when an electrical short sparked a kitchen fire Saturday evening, temporarily closing the local favorite for an estimated four months or more. Arden Arcade resident Kathy Stricklin wants to help.
Monday afternoon Stricklin, 66, created a GoFundMe account at www.gofundme.com/7y4mtgjuc for the employees. With a goal of $100,000 and $375 raised as of Tuesday morning, she says every penny counts.
Stricklin moved to the Arden Arcade area in 1982 when FlapJacks was originally called Walt’s. “It’s a tradition in Arden. It’s a place where people go, whether it’s a family, or a club, or a meeting after church,” Stricklin said.
Frank Tofanelli bought the 2721 El Camino Ave. business in 1981 when it was called Walt’s. He changed the name to Country Waffles and then to FlapJacks in 2011.
His biggest concern, he said, is finding a way to retain his employees during the rebuilding process.
“Frank has always been that smile behind the counter. His crew is incredible and you never have to wait for the coffee to be reheated. It’s a family community,” Stricklin said.
Stricklin says Tofanelli sent an email to regular guests of FlapJacks, explaining the circumstances. “I have some insurance money to compensate some of them (the employees), but I am worried it won’t be enough,” Stricklin read from the email.
Stricklin also said Tofanelli is giving a few shifts to FlapJacks employees at his Country Waffles location at 6986 Sunrise Blvd. Stricklin added that Tofanelli is also offering 40 percent off to anyone who brings his email to his Country Waffles location at 6986 Sunrise Blvd.
“There are certain businesses in Arden that make this community what it is,” Stricklin said.