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Firefighters Flock to Hugo's: Lots of Smoke, Still Shuttered

Hugo's on Santa Monica Boulevard just can't catch a break. First it was shuttered by the DOH (twice), then it closed for renovations, now we hear from a WeHo tipster that there was a fire on Sunday night: "Looks like the 'renovations' may take a little longer than expected. Firefighters were last seen talking to surviving cockroaches." Sorry...we know one shouldn't joke about fire, but that's kinda funny. We placed a call to the main Hugo's office this morning, and it turns out that a faulty air conditioning unit created some smoke but no flames in the space, and there's no major damage that will delay the targeted June 13 reopening date. (Well, it's somewhat delayed.) After Eater ran the story of all the shuttering, Wehonews.com got the full scoop: Owner Tom Kaplan said that kitchen renovations were already planned for this summer, and a roach problem developed after some bad construction seven years ago, which led to the recent closure, which led to its current full renovation. Add a new air conditioner to the list, and things will keep chugging along.

***UPDATE***: More info from CFO of Hugo's just came in: "It looked a lot bigger from the outside, with three or four trucks and traffic diverted, than it actually turned out to be on the inside."

An email from Bill Kohne:

"The fire on Sunday night was isolated to a ‘blower’ and an air conditioning unit. Thanks to our alert neighbors and the swift response from the Fire Department, the fire was quickly contained and the damage was very minimal – considering the amount of smoke it created! It looked a lot bigger from the outside, with three or four trucks and traffic diverted, than it actually turned out to be on the inside. It has added some time to our work, but we were very lucky all in all. We really do owe a debt to the Fire Department and Sheriff’s department who did a tremendous job.

As for an updated opening date, it does appear that the 13th is a bit too optimistic. The renovations being completed are quite extensive, cover the entire service area, and require multiple inspections at several stages. There are so many ‘moving parts’ to this endeavor that it’s difficult to be absolutely certain of a date. We now anticipate re-opening no later than Wednesday June 21st. Of course, if we are able to open sooner we absolutely will! We are as anxious as anyone to welcome back our customers, who are very much our extended family, and get everyone back to work.

· Hugo's Gutted, Reopening in June [~ELA~]
· EaterWire: Hugo's DOH'd [~ELA~]
· EaterWire: Hugo's Shuttered Again [~ELA~]
· What Happened at Hugo's? [Wehonews.com]

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