Brennan's to reopen this fall

March 3, 2009 10:38:26 AM PST
A Houston's landmark restaurant Brennan's Restaurant has announced its plans for re-opening later this year following a devastating fire during Hurricane Ike. [PHOTOS: See pics of raging fire]

The structure built in the 1920s withstood a major fire allowing for this reopening to happen.

"If it's still there...that we would be closed all day Friday and for brunch Saturday and planning on reopening for Sunday evening," said the restaurant owner Alex Brennan-Martin.

The restaurant owner never imagined that as Hurricane Ike rolled in he would watch the restaurant his mother opened in 1967 burn. A transformer blew, sparking the flames. Fire crews said it was a difficult fire to contain, as winds from the storm fueled the fire to a point where crews went into defensive mode and did what they could to protect other buildings in the area.

"I spent the evening here along with a few other folks because it is sort of our custom. So, we could clean up and get ready to go the next morning," he said.

The next morning never arrived and the owner wasn't sure if he had to the strength to reopen.

"Our flagship restaurant, Commuters Palace, in New Orleans was closed for 15 months after Katrina and ironically we settled the very last of our claims related to Katrina in New Orleans two weeks before Ike hit. So, yeah it started to feel a little overwhelming," said Brennan-Martin.

There were rumors that the iconic restaurant was gone forever started to spread quickly. Today, those rumors were silenced and announcements were made to reopen this fall.

"I don't think that announcing that we are going to reopen a restaurant really merits a press conference and visit by the mayor but heck I'm thrilled," he said.

Brennan's will be a mix of contemporary and modern luxury with a touch of refinement and class the restaurant has always been known for.

"Tradition is a big part of my family and a big part of what we do and a big part of our staff here," said the owner. "It would not be safe to go in the dining room without Turtle soup, none of that will change."

One the night of the fire there were three people who were injured. All three did survive. Two of them still have some major recovery to go through, including a four-year-old girl who was burned over 70 percent of her body.

They plan to bring back as many of the old staff to the restaurant.

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