It appears to have been a bizarre, unfortunate coincidence, that two similarly-named restaurants should be heavily damaged by fire less than four years apart in Naperville and Glen Ellyn.
No injuries were reported in the Friday morning blaze that gutted Grandma Sally’s Family Restaurant, at 450 E. Ogden Ave. in Naperville, just as there had been none in the Sept. 6, 2010 fire that ruined Grandma Sally’s Waffle & Pancake House, at 369 Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn.
The restaurants had different owners and were not affiliated, according to the son of John Antonopoulos, one of three men who own and operate Grandma Sally’s in Naperville. The senior Antonopoulos’ partners are Mike Gountanis and Jim Kanellopoulos, while Rahul Saigal owned Grandma Sally’s in Glen Ellyn.
Antonopoulos’ son stood Friday afternoon in the restaurant’s parking lot with others who own and help run the business. He confirmed the Naperville Grandma Sally’s has no connection to the one in Glen Ellyn, but declined to comment further on the fire or the future of the restaurant.
The blaze broke out at 2:17 a.m. in Naperville. Both the Naperville fire and the Glen Ellyn fire also appeared to have erupted at the rears of the buildings.
Deputy Naperville Fire Department Chief Rick Sander said Friday afternoon in his office that while the source and cause of the Naperville blaze might not be known for weeks, it was “not suspicious” or potentially criminal in nature.
Twenty-four firefighters responded after a fire alarm sounded at the Naperville Grandma Sally’s. Only one engine was initially sent out on the call, but reinforcements were quickly dispatched, after a 911 call from “a passerby reporting lots of smoke coming out of the building,” Division Chief Kevin Lyne wrote Friday in a release.
Two fire trucks, three engines, a heavy rescue squad, two ambulances and two command vehicles were sent to the area. Lyne said the first firefighters to arrive “found heavy black smoke and fire coming from the rear” of the restaurant.
Firefighters encountered “heavy fire inside the building” and began extinguishment efforts, Lyne said. They and others brought the blaze under control and searched the building for potential victims, although the restaurant at the time was closed for the day.
“The damage to the building is extensive and is estimated to be approximately $400,000,” Lyne said.
Lyne said firefighters were assisted at the scene by members of the Naperville police department and the city’s emergency management agency, along with the DuPage County Fire Investigation Task Force.
He added members of the Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Lisle-Woodridge, Lockport, Plainfield, Wheaton and Winfield firefighting agencies provided coverage at Naperville’s fire stations during the incident.
Members of the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company encountered heavy smoke and fire upon their arrival at the scene of the 2010 Grandma Sally’s blaze in that village. As in the fire in Naperville, the Glen Ellyn restaurant was closed and unoccupied at the time.
Damage was primarily confined to the kitchen and rear of the business.
Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jim Bodony said Friday a formal report stated a smoke detector went off at the start of the fire in the restaurant, which had no automatic sprinkler system.
Damage totaled nearly $1 million, with $500,000 to the building and $400,000 to its contents, Bodony said. The restaurant never reopened.
Anil Sharma, a Farmers Insurance agent based in Chicago, wrote the policy for the restaurant.
“I have no idea how it happened,” although the fire apparently “started somewhere in the back storage room (or) the utility room,” Sharma said Friday.
DuPage County Fire Investigation Task Force members probed the Glen Ellyn blaze, and while its cause could not be immediately learned late Friday, it did not appear to have been deliberately set.
Antonopoulos, Gountanis and Kanellopoulos have owned the Naperville Grandma Sally’s for about 30 years. The restaurant had seating for 172 people, and had the Grandma Sally’s moniker when the men bought it.
The restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner and was an especially popular morning gathering spot. It was perhaps best known for its breakfast skillet dishes and Greek-themed dinner entrees.
Friday’s blaze was the fourth significant fire to have occurred in Naperville in 12 days, with the other three all erupting on July 6.
Fire Marshal Scott Scheller earlier this week said improper disposal of a cigarette or other smoking material started a 6:15 a.m. blaze that did an estimated $200,000 damage to Rizzo’s bar and restaurant, at 6 W. Jefferson Ave. in the city’s downtown area.
Another fire broke out about 5:50 p.m. on the balcony of a townhouse at 2504 Durango Lane, in the Glenmuir area of the city’s far southwest side. That blaze was caused by a charcoal barbecue grill and did about $60,000 in damage.
An electrical malfunction in an air compressor ignited a fire about 7:40 p.m. in the detached garage of a house at 30W110 Bruce Lane, in the unincorporated Scots Plains area of DuPage County near Naperville’s far northwest side, doing an estimated $80,000 damage.Tags: Grandma Sally's fire