Kalamazoo’s Food Dance to reopen months after fire

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Two months after a fire forced Kalamazoo’s Food Dance restaurant to shut down, the downtown dining spot is getting ready to reopen.

“It took two years for us to build this here, and so we had two months to get it rebuilt,” said owner Julie Stanley. “So, it’s been fast and furious.”

The fire happened Sept. 28 at the restaurant, located at 401 E. Michigan Ave.

“When the fire alarms went off… I just thought it was a mistake, so we all kind of came out of a meeting and came down. And I saw my chef, and smoke billowing out and I knew exactly what it was,” said Stanley.

It was a fire in the duct work above one of the kitchen hoods. Stanley says the cleaning company she uses failed to clean the hoods, leading to the fire.

Nobody was hurt, but the damage was done, totaling approximately $1 million, according to Stanley. Additionally, she says the restaurant lost about $750,000 in business. 

“It was exhausting and devastating,” Stanley said.

There were other costs as well. One farm that supplies Food Dance lost about $70,000 in business while the restaurant was closed.

“And I just worried about all of our staff,” said Stanley.  “We have 80 staff, 85 staff, and what were they going to do?”

Stanley invested heavily in insurance, which helped pay her employees as the restaurant rebuilt. 

Javon Ogden has worked at Food Dance for three years. 

“I’m anxious to get back to work,” he said. “I’m pretty much bored.”

Food Dance is hosting a grand reopening party Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  A limited number of tickets are still available on the restaurant’s website.

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