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Oregon District restaurant rising from fire and readying for brand new chapter

Salar owner planning three pop-up dinners to support the restaurant in its comeback after devastating fire. When it does reopen, diners can expect a brand new look.

An Oregon District businesses woman is fighting the uncertainty her business is facing after damage from a fire with food.

Margot Blondet, the owner of Salar Restaurant and Lounge at 400 E. Fifth St., is planning a three-part chef’s dinner at her home to help support the business and its plan to reopen.

>> Restaurant owner vows to reopen after devastating fire

Blondet has been working to reopen Salar since a devastating New Year’s Eve weekend fire. 

>> Salar owner after fire: ‘My heart is broken for my people’ 

WHY HAVE DINNERS?

She has made progress, but the business will remain closed for months to come as the restaurant and its building are remodeled and permits are obtained.

“It can be June or July, but what happens if it’s August?” Blondet said. “We are doing these events to survive.  I am hoping that we don’t need more.”

The restaurant has insurance, but financial pressures are often exacerbated the longer a business is closed. 

>> PHOTOS: Progress inside of Salar after fire 

Salar Restaurant and Lounge is being rehabilitated after a fire Dec. 29, 2017. A dining area near the restaurant's main bar is shown. (Amelia Robinson)

ABOUT THE DINNERS

Margot is hosting a series of three pop-up dinners at her home May 19 and June 9 and 23. 

Seating is limited to 35 people for each of the five-course meals. The cost for each meal each date is $99. 

Guests will be able to sample and rate dishes that may appear on Salar’s menu when it returns. 

Blondet, who recently returned from a trip to her hometown Lima, Peru, said some Salar favorites will also be served. 

She said she is thankful for the support the community has shown to her and her staff. 

“They are so excited to see us and to eat the food,” Blondet said. “People are waiting. We are too.”

THE NEW SALAR

Diners can expect an entire new look to the restaurant  Blondet, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Peru, opened Salar in 2013 at the former site of Sidebar.

>> 10 restaurants that opened locally in 2013

Blondet was Sidebar’s executive chef.

Salar Restaurant and Lounge is being rehabilitated after a fire Dec. 29, 2017. Work has begun on the restaurant's back patio which includes a pergola. (Amelia Robinson)

Blondet is again working with industrial designer Mitch Perry on Salar’s new, lighter and softer look for the restaurant and its patios.

 “We are saying bye to the black,” she said. “It is going to be so pretty.” 

Changes have already been made to the bar area, floor and other parts of the restaurant. 

>> After devastating fire, popular Oregon District restaurant poised to reopen -- with big changes

The DAMAGE DONE AND WORK AHEAD 

A fire door installed by Blondet prevented more serious fire damage to the front of the restaurant, but the smell of smoke damage lingered particularly in the restaurant’s back lounge  during this news organization’s recent visit to Salar.

Blondet said the smell will be removed. 

Several areas — the kitchen and a former office space included — are still without electricity. 

A prep and a pantry, an area where Blondet suspects the blaze began between floors, still needs significant repairs. 

>> Brunch Club owner says fire damage more extensive than first thought. When will the restaurant reopen?

About a half-dozen businesses were impacted by the fire Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. 

Spice Paradise and Hicks Barber Shop and Shave Parlor are among those that have already reopened. 

>> This beloved Oregon District shop is now open again after devastating fire

Salar Restaurant and Lounge is being rehabilitated after a fire Dec. 29, 2017. A worker is show doing work on the outside of the restaurant. (Amelia Robinson)
Salar Restaurant and Lounge is being rehabilitated after a fire Dec. 29, 2017. A fabric swash is shown. (Amelia Robinson)

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