The brand-new Fadi's Mediterranean Grill in Richardson suffered an early morning fire on October 2; it is temporarily closed. The restaurant incurred serious damage, including the collapse of the roof.
Fadi's is part of a small chain of cafeteria-style Mediterranean restaurants founded in Houston by veteran chef Fadi Dimassi. The chain is universally praised for the excellent quality of its Lebanese and Middle Eastern food. Diners who go through the line can choose from a regular plate with meat or a vegetarian version. The chain also is well-known for its varied vegetable options.
The Richardson restaurant just opened in August at 1601 N. Central Expy., after more than a year's worth of renovation of the former Humperdink's, which had been there for 23 years.
According to Richardson Fire Battalion chief Kenneth Jacks, the fire was spotted by a motorist who was driving on US 75 at about 2 am. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
Owner Chadi Merched says that he wasn't allowed to go inside yet because of potential danger of the roof falling in, but that he definitely intends to rebuild.
"They don’t know what happened yet," he says. "We were there until 11:30 or 11:45 pm. I got a call around 2:45 am saying there was a fire. I thought it was a small fire. When I got there, it was shocking."
He credits the Richardson fire department with stopping it as much as they did.
"I'm glad they stopped it; it might have burned the whole place, but they got there at the right time," he says. "It is a huge damage. I expect it will take two to three months to fix it and get it back to what I want it to be. But if the fire department had not gotten there in time, it would have been a big loss."
He says that everything was custom-made, "from the lights to the furniture to the beams," he says. "Just yesterday, we spent $7,000 to add a new balcony. I had people who were doing everything onsite. That’s why it took us forever to finish it."
He's grateful by the warm reception he's received from Richardson.
"Usually when we open a new place, we don’t want it to be busy from day one; we want to give the servers a chance to get up to speed," he says. "But from day one, we've been super busy, much better than expected. And we're getting a lot of family, a lot more than the branch at Knox.
"I've never had to use that many high chairs in my life."