Family Shocked After Fire at El-Mayor Restaurant

The head chef at El-Mayor restaurant is speaking out after a fire at the family business that caused $1.2-million in damages Thursday morning.

Head Chef and Night Manager Wissam Abbas says he closed the restaurant on Wednesday around 11pm and received a call from a friend at nearby pizza shop around 1am Thursday saying his restaurant was on fire — the family is still in shock.

"It's bad man ... to see everything is down except the name is still there which will stay there forever I think," says Abbas, whose father owns the restaurant.

Abbas says his family is tired and are still sitting at home waiting for answers.

"This is our life ... It's not a money thing, we like what we do," he says. "It's the restaurant, it's the name itself.  We've been working so hard all these years and we want to bring it back."

It's still too early to say what's next for the 25-year-old business and its 30 employees, according to Abbas.

"Even our staff, they're waiting for us, they don't want to find another job.  They say we're sticking around, we can help in any way you guys want us to help," he says. "When we clear up our head and mind we're going to think about what we're going to do in the future but we're going to stick around in the restaurant business."

Chief Fire Prevention Officer John Lee says it started between the ceiling and the roof of the restaurant and the cause is not suspicious.