Just 100 metres from where beachfront icon Stokehouse burned down in January this year, another St Kilda restaurant was tonight fighting a fire of its own.
Flames broke out in the kitchen at approximately 6.30pm on Sunday evening, while an estimated 50 diners were in the restaurant, including a party of 16 in the private dining room. The fire burned for about an hour while police and fire services blocked off Jacka Boulevard.
Sous chef Andy Craig said chefs “were cooking away (then) there were flames coming out of the chimney, then it was coming out of the canopies.”
Speaking while still at the scene, Craig said that while the cause was unknown, Donovans chefs were using the barbeque, which may have been the cause.
Despite damage to the kitchen and roof, co-owner Kevin Donovan is grateful that it wasn’t worse.
“After our neighbours burned down in January we stepped up the flue-cleaning program (exhaust systems), but somehow a spark got up into the canopy,” Donovan told Broadsheet.
“The dining room is completely untouched with the exception of water damage on the floor…there’s nothing structurally wrong. We’re very very lucky.”
Melbourne Fire Brigade's commander at the scene said the 40 firefighters on hand to battle the blaze managed to save a large proportion of the restaurant, but Donovans will be forced to close for some time. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.