DES MOINES, Iowa — A popular metro pizza place is set to re-open Friday after a fire closed its doors a couple of weeks ago.
It was a fire on the second floor of the apartment building, directly above Fong’s, that forced the closure. In all, the shop was closed for 16 day and it’s been a tough period for the crew.
“Everyone one is holding up O.K.” said Gwen Page, Owner of Fong’s Pizza. “We have enough to do to keep us busy and our minds off of what happened.”
A majority of the damage customers won’t even see, it’s mainly water and smoke damage in the kitchen.
Page said that the staff at Fong’s has been instrumental in putting the store back together. Employees worked late into the evening most days, once it was safe to go back in. Even hours before the final health inspection, the staff was applying a fresh coat of paint and installing new kitchen equipment.
The ownership group said it’s hard to gauge how much the repairs will cost because they are not done working but Page hinted it’s going to be quite spendy. Page is just grateful because they know it could have been much worse.
“We honestly just want to thank the community, the Des Moines Fire Department, the police, the medics, the dispatch, just everyone that helped,” said Page. “It could have been a terrible situation, tragedy, ended up being really safe. Everybody was evacuated safely that evening.”
As far as the employees that missed wages because of the closure, it’s good news and bad news.
Good news, Page said the insurance company is covering wages for salary and non-tipped employees.
Bad news, they will not cover lost wages for the tipped employees, like servers and bartenders.
”The other great thing about Fong’s is that we are a part of Full Court Press. So, all of the restaurants around town have also been very helpful in giving opportunities for the staff to work there while we’ve been closed,” said Page.
The shop will reopen Friday for lunch. For those wondering, the helmets for the kamikazes saw no damage and they will be in use Friday night.