When news broke that Bill & Toni’s caught fire yesterday, there were a lot of locals in a state of panic. It’s one of the oldest and most-loved Italian restaurants in Sydney.
“There wasn’t a lot of damage,” owner Christian Montel tells Broadsheet. The upstairs section will remain off-limits until reopening this Saturday for dinner. The downstairs kitchen and dining room will continue to trade as normal. “It was all contained in the kitchen upstairs, which is great. I’m just happy no-one got hurt.”
The fryer, ovens and hot plates in the upstairs kitchen sustained damage and will have to be replaced. A new lick of paint will take care of the smoke damages. Montel is putting the upstairs team to work on the repairs. “We employ a lot of people and they didn’t want to go home,” he says.
The source of the blaze is still unknown. “We had forensic guys come in, they said it could be anything … a pilot, some grease, electrical,” he says. After chatting with the fire brigade, Montel learned that on average, they visit three restaurants a week to put out blazes in kitchens.
Although it’s been just a day since the fire, Bill & Toni’s has been overwhelmed by the community support. “It’s amazing that I’ve had so many people coming in. We know this place is iconic, but it’s just amazing how much support we’ve had with flowers [and people] asking if the place is okay.”
Bill and Toni’s upstairs will reopen for dinner this Saturday.