A fire Sunday evening started in the Central Avenue building that houses El Taco Riendo, a popular Mexican restaurant, and spread to neighboring addresses on that heavily trafficked block.
The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to a fire call in the two-story building around 5 p.m., and, after more than an hour, pulled firefighters out of the buildings.
Images from the scene, including some captured by Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis), who represents the neighborhood, show a blazing fire in the second-floor apartments of both buildings -- just above Taco Riendo and Anelace Coffee.
El Taco Riendo in NE Mpls is burning down, as if things couldn’t get worse pic.twitter.com/9ojiw9DuM7— oceaneggrapher (@ejmaumau) March 22, 2020
This is so sad. pic.twitter.com/k5Nhu15rhJ— Sen Kari Dziedzic (@KariDziedzic) March 22, 2020
This is back of Anelace Coffee. Postal Union building didn't look good. El Taco Rienda has damage. Really dark smoke at one pojnt. No idea of damage to Costa Blanca, Durango, Dipped & Debris and Sen Yai Sen Lek. https://t.co/UDS02BAL9c pic.twitter.com/YBauQUAdjM— Sen Kari Dziedzic (@KariDziedzic) March 23, 2020
Dziedzic said later she and other elected officials on the scene had met with tenants and business owners affected by the fire, and would continue to "see how we can help" on Monday.
The buildings were successfully cleared of occupants, Minneapolis Fire Chief John Frutel told the Star Tribune, saying he did not believe anyone was working in either business at the time of the fire. (Anelace announced a week ago it would close "until further notice" in light of the coronavirus.)
Crews continued fighting the fire in hopes of saving as much of the buildings as possible, but El Taco Riendo posted to Facebook Sunday night as if the damage is insurmountable.
We’ve been serving you for the last 11 years and we are sure that with your help we are going to stay strong. We are glad that we are safe and the lost was only material. Thanks for all the support you’ve given us, we know these are hard times not only for us.
The page encouraged customers to continue patronizing its second location in Crystal for to-go orders, stating the restaurant would be open from 1-7 p.m., and could be reached at 763-951-3242.
A cause of the fire has not yet been determined.