Gregory’s Steakhouse owner says restaurant could be closed for six months; Hanover Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.
Standing outside the charred remains of his kitchen, the owner of Gregory’s Steakhouse vowed to return to business.
But when exactly he can make good on that promise, Theodore Bozakis could only guess.
“It looks like six to seven months,” he said Friday. “We plan to reopen, but it’s going to take some time. It’s totaled. It’s finished.”
A New Year’s Day blaze all but destroyed the Hanover Township, Northampton County eatery’s kitchen and a portion of the upstairs. The fire broke out in the Schoenersville Road restaurant about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The venerable restaurant offered a traditional New Year’s Day lunch of all-you-can-eat pork and sauerkraut Tuesday in addition to its regular menu that includes a
120-ounce rib-eye steak.
Fire Chief Craig Wasem, with the Hanover Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1, said an exact cause for the destructive fire had yet to be determined. But the chief said he was fairly confident the fire was an accident.
Bozakis was on the scene Friday with fellow employees and inspectors trying to assess the damage to the restaurant, of which he’s been an owner for nine years. The 73-year-old Northampton man, born in Greece, spoke with a thick accent and a pained tone while describing the devastation.
An open rear door into the burned kitchen served as a window into the damage. The scene was a sort of tableaux of the action from Tuesday evening. Amid jagged, hanging ceiling panels, there were cooking utensils, spices and food scattered throughout the room. A large hunk of red meat sat on a cutting board, sprinkled with ashen debris.
Bozakis said his cooking staff had to flee the kitchen hurriedly when the fire began. Flames were climbing out of the broiler and quickly spread to filters and other equipment, Bozakis said. He was summoned from his office by workers yelling about a fire, but only caught a glimpse of the chaos in the kitchen before thick smoke choked the air.
“That smoke,” he recalled, shaking his head. “It catches you right in the throat.”
This was the first fire Bozakis said he’d ever experienced. He also hopes it will be his last. The true cost of the devastation remains unclear as of yet, he said.
“To me, it looks very big,” the owner said. “The number, off the top of my head — I don’t even know. But, for instance, one broiler alone: That’s $10,000.”
It might seem an insurmountable cost, but Bozakis is determined to bring back Gregory’s. He can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I don’t even know what else I would do with myself. I’m a guy who doesn’t want to stay at home on the sofa. I want to keep moving,” he said. “Here is my living, my everything. This is my life.”