Beloved downtown restaurant devastated by fire

Salar restaurant spent much of 2018 rebuilding and had one of the most remarkable comeback stories of the year.

It’s one of Dayton dining’s best comeback stories.

Salar, a fine-dining establishment specializing in Peruvian and French-inspired cuisine, and a half-dozen other nearby businesses in the Oregon District received major smoke damage when fire broke out at the restaurant early Friday, Dec. 29, 2017.

The restaurant spent much of the year picking up the pieces and rebuilding, making it one of our favorite comeback stories of 2018.

Not only that. Salar found a way to take this disaster and turn it into a way to give back to the community.

Credit: Photo: Meg Shaw

Credit: Photo: Meg Shaw

After nine months of rebuilding, Salar reopened this fall.

>> WE'RE BACK': Restaurant owner announces plans to reopen 9 months after devastating fire 

Chef Margot Blondet planned a series of soft reopening events in September that served as fund-raisers for Dayton Children's Hospital's Burn Program to help provide burn kits to families in-need that financially cannot afford to purchase the necessary medical supplies to treat injuries, the restaurant said.

>> Following devastating fire, Dayton restaurant makes big donation for burned children

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

An official grand reopening celebration took place on Sept. 30. Click here for additional details about Salar's grand opening.

REGULAR SERVICE: Regular operating hours resumed Oct. 1.  Salar is open seven days a week, with the bar opening at 4 p.m. and the kitchen opening at 5 p.m. daily.

THE NEW SALAR: The restaurant returned with a new look and new menu items.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

>> PHOTOS: Sneak peek inside the new Salar

The new bar has a full selection of alcohol, wine and beer but will feature pisco sours, a brandy drink made with egg whites and angostura bitters.

>> How Salar’s new pisco bar works

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

PREVIOUS COVERAGE ( Aug 09, 2018): Oregon District restaurant set to reopen after devastating fire

If things go as planned, a favorite Dayton restaurant rebuilding after a fire will be open again in a matter of weeks.

Salar Restaurant and Lounge, 400 E. Fifth St., plans to open its doors in September, manager Meg Shaw confirmed with us this morning.

>> Grand opening next week for new ice cream shop that revitalized vacant Dairy Queen

“As of right now, we have September as an opening timeline. We will have further details and final dates coming soon. In the meantime, we are continuing to hire,” she said.

The restaurant has been closed since a fire just before New Year’s Eve. Other businesses damaged in the blaze have re-opened.

>> UPDATE: Little Saigon is back, but 2 other restaurants still fighting to reopen after devastating fires

Credit: Salar/Facebook

Credit: Salar/Facebook


The owner of a popular Oregon District says her restaurant will be even better when it reopens following a devastating New Year’s Eve weekend fire.

>> 12 of the best restaurants in Dayton

"It's a roller coaster. We've been working since day one trying to reopen," Margot Blondet, the owner of Salar Restaurant and Lounge at 400 E. Fifth St., said. "We are going to change the bar, add a new foyer. When you come in it, is going to be more welcoming."

Blondet recently signed a new lease with Adil Baguirov, the building's owner, and plans to reopen the restaurant she launched in 2013 this summer. 

She plans to meet with an architect Thursday and is awaiting permits from the city. 
  >> Salar owner after fire: 'My heart is broken for my people' (Dec. 30, 2017)

There will also be a larger back patio dining area to enhance the experience for customers who want an al fresco ambiance.

The restaurant will have an expanded spirits and wine menu.

Salar and a half-dozen other nearby businesses received major smoke damage when fire broke out at the restaurant early Friday, Dec. 29, 2017.

>> Oregon District businesses are bouncing back after devastating blaze 

Hicks Barber Shop and Shave Parlor in the Emporium building at 400 E. Fifth St. has reopened. Spice Paradise is planning to reopen this week.

The fire is believed to have been electrical in nature, Blondet said.

Much of the fire damage was contained to the center of the building and the second floor, but there was smoke damage throughout.

The restaurant’s kitchen and main dining room were mostly intact, but a pantry, office and dishwashing area had extensive fire damage.

Blondet said she lost many things that have sentimental value, including her cooking jackets, notes and cookbooks.

“I was washing everything with my bare hands because I refuse to give up,” she said.

She expects about half of the 35 people she employed to return, but says others, including her management team, have moved on to new opportunities.

Blondet expects to begin hiring as soon as she get permits from the city of Dayton.

Getting restarted should be easier than when the business first opened, she said.

“You know where you made mistakes so you can fix them,” Blondet said. “It is having a second chance.”

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