One afternoon in mid-February, owner Akif Aydin was called to his restaurant at 2437 Birch St. after a plate shattered inside the kitchen's broiler and caught on fire. Employees tried to fan the fire with a towel, which had the effect, of course, of making it even bigger. Aydin said it took three or four fire extinguishers to put out the fire, though employees did so before the fire department arrived. (This all happened during the lunch hour, with customers in the restaurant.)
The damage was significant enough that pretty much everything, from electrical to plumbing, had to be redone.
"We did everything from zero," Aydin said.
A small silver lining was that Aydin, the third owner of Cafe Pro Bono, had been planning a compete kitchen remodel for this August, so he fortunately already had plans drawn up and approved, he said. With some slight revisions, work started and finished within a short two months.
Aydin said it was painful to have to call and cancel the many events people had booked Café Pro Bono's private room for at over the last several months.
Many California Avenue restaurants were incredibly supportive, Aydin said, helping with taking some of the restaurant's existing reservations and also providing lunch to workers during the remodel.
Cafe Pro Bono will be open for regular dinner hours starting Friday, April 24, from 5 to 10 p.m., and will return to regular lunch hours (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) on Monday, April 27. It will be business as usual, just done in a shiny new kitchen.
Prep for Pro Bono's return by reading this review from 2006.