Restaurant Reopens Doors After Fire Forces Renovation

By Andrew BowenThe Daily Northwestern

Cozy Noodles & Rice, 1018 Davis St., reopened in early August after being closed for two-and-a-half months.

A kitchen fire on May 22 forced the downtown Evanston restaurant to close for renovations. It reopened Aug. 7.

Cozy employee Putti Pong said the renovations cost about $200,000. The cost wasn’t covered by insurance, he said.

“Most likely the smoke did most of the damage,” Pong said.

The majority of the damage was restricted to the kitchen area, he said.

Capt. Kurt Dickman of the Evanston Fire Department originally said Cozy would need to be closed for only a few days. But repairing the stove and ventilation system required an inspection by the Evanston Health Department, which took longer than expected.

Dickman said in May that the fire started when a chef put a chicken into a wok filled with oil. The oil then spilled onto the open flame on the stove, he said.

Some Evanston residents saw that Cozy was closed, but not everyone knew the story behind the closure.

Susan Blake, an Evanston resident eating at the restaurant Saturday evening, said she didn’t know there had been a fire at the establishment.

She said she noticed they had redecorated since they were last open.

“It was fun to see more personality in the decor,” she said.

Blake added that Cozy was her daughter’s favorite restaurant and that she knew it was a popular place for students.

Christine Peeler, a Weinberg senior, said she used to eat there often but hasn’t been back since it closed.

“We were upset when it closed,” she said. “It seemed like a pretty dramatic closing.”

Pong said they were happy to be open for business again and that the new school year would help them recover.

“Most of the customers here are students,” he said. “It’s getting better as the students come back.”

Reach Andrew Bowen at [email protected]