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LA Cafe Owner Hopes to Reopen in December

After a fire destroyed the popular Mexican restaurant in January, the owner promised, "we will rebuild." Plans for a new building have been drawn up by Olivieri Architects.

Fire may have destroyed , one of New Lenox's most beloved restaurants, in January, but the business is slated for a resurrection. 

Owner Mark Angel said he hopes the new building will be ready by December. Already in Frankfort have prepared an artistic rendering of the planned restaurant.

The Jan. 28 blaze started accidentally in the kitchen in the early morning hours on a Saturday. No one was hurt, but the business was forced to close.

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Despite the rapid response by the , which is located across the street from the restaurant on. Route 30 and Prairie Avenue, fire spread quickly. It took nearly an hour to extinguish.

About 15 employees came to the scene after the fire, preparing for the morning rush when the blaze started. Someone called for help, and the employees managed to drag benches and other items out of the restaurant, salvaging the little they could after flames ripped through the roof.

There were no sprinklers in the building because of its age, New Lenox Fire Chief Jon Mead said. The roof and ceiling were completely damaged as well as many interior walls. Employees weren't sure if any kitchen equipment would still work.

Angel is actively working to make good on his promise to the community that the restaurant would reopen. He expressed his appreciation for those who went out of their way to patronize his other locations in Mokena and Richton Park while the facility in New Lenox was boarded up.

"I'm looking forward to opening pretty soon," he said. "We're going to throw a big party with a mariachi band!" 

In consideration of the support and well-wishes by the community, Angel said, "We have a lot of loyal customers. They've been good. We'll be there to see them soon."

Meanwhile, the staff at Olivieri is looking forward to completing the task at hand.

"The project team is not only taking on the task of restoring the structure of the building, but using their situation as an opportunity for a facelift of their building into something quite striking," Olivieri spokeswoman Elizabeth Esposito said.

Read more about New Lenox business: 

Keep the conversation going on New Lenox Patch's Facebook page

mark July 28, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Looks like it's going to be an outdoor restaurant
DJ July 28, 2012 at 02:22 PM
"It took nearly an hour to distinguish." LOL!
Jerry Kinsuella July 28, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Don't bother rebuilding. Worst.Mexican.Food. Ever.
James Madison July 29, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Snarky. People. Type. Like. This.
Clarissa Tinsdale July 29, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Just glad you are not defending their menu-- Taco Bell has more real meat in the tacos. My dog wouldn't eat this LA Cafe crap.
Kerry Lyons-Studer August 06, 2012 at 08:43 PM
We have shared many a good meal and good times with friends and loved ones at LA Cafe. I personally can't wait until they re-open again so we can meet for breakfast, or meet for chips & salsa and a cold Margarita! :) LOVE IT! :)
Carol Neidermeyer August 23, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Most beloved restaurant in New Lenox ? Hahahahaha That location was better served by Sitar's music store. I wouldn't let my dog eat their version of Mexican food.

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