Omnivore - Kitchen fire shutters the Optimist, restaurant projected to reopen next week

Westside seafood restaurant projected to reopen next week


Ford Fry's Westside seafood outpost the Optimist caught fire last week, forcing the restaurant to close indefinitely.

The fire, which occurred before lunch service the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 23, was caused by a grease buildup in the hood vent. No guests were present and no one was injured. According to the restaurant, the hood had been cleaned three days prior.

Currently, the Optimist is "waiting for the hood cleaning company's insurance adjuster to review the damage and is in the process of submitting a permit with the City to install a new hood."

Owner Ford Fry said on Tuesday:

"As soon as we get a couple of sign-offs we will be back up and running. For now we are focusing on taking care of our guests and staff."

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Fry told the AJC on Sunday that he hoped to reopen the Optimist sometime this week. An anonymous email sent to a number of Atlanta food media over the weekend from an account apparently posing as an official restaurant email address speculated that the restaurant wouldn't reopen "until well into November, or maybe even December." The author of the email claimed to be "an anonymous staff rep between staff and mgmt." An Optimist rep says the restaurant uses its own email service and denies the validity of the email and account.

On Monday, Eater reported that employees hoped the restaurant would reopen by Monday, November 4.

As of today, the restaurant is projected to reopen next Wednesday, Nov. 6, but because of the nature of permitting and inspections, a hard date has not been set.