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

Restaurant expects to be closed for months; fire displaces two other businesses

A beloved Oregon District restaurant is closed indefinitely following a fire.

Salar Restaurant and Lounge Chef Margot Blondet said Saturday that she doesn’t know yet how long it will be before the restaurant can be back up and running following the Friday fire, but it looks like it could be months out before the business is again operating.

The fire also displaced a digital product agency on the second floor, forced a nearby a spice shop temporarily to close.

About 35 people work in the restaurant that Blondet, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Peru, opened in 2013.

“We still don’t know how in the world this happened,” she said. “My heart is broken for my people (staff members). My heart is broken for them. I don’t even know what to tell them.”

A fund had been set up to donate to employees of Salar and about $2,400 had been collected as of Saturday afternoon.

Adil Baguirov, the building’s owner, said following the fire that, “a lot of damage at the most unfortunate time. Just making sure that we can get back on our feet as soon as possible.”

Insurance companies were on scene Friday. Baguirov said the loss will be significant, but it’s unknown at this point.

This weekend was supposed to be a prosperous one for chef Margot Blondet and her staff at Salar Restaurant and Lounge, 400 E. Fifth St. Instead of serving a packed house of guests a specially designed New Year’s Eve menu, the chef-owner and her staff will be cleaning up after what fire officials describe as an early morning kitchen fire.

The restaurant had to cancel the 350 reservations made for this weekend.

“We were so ready,” Blondet said Friday. “I had New Year’s Eve decorations in my car.”

Dayton fire crews were dispatched to Salar at 6:20 a.m. Friday on reports of smoke.

Firefighters said a kitchen fire spread, causing significant smoke damage to the restaurant.

Investigators said the fire started in the kitchen and spread to the ceiling and a neighboring building, affecting other businesses along with Salar.

The Scenery, a digital product agency on the second floor, said on its Facebook page that it has been displaced from the fire. Spice Paradise, a spice shop in the neighboring Brown Street building, also said it will be closed several days.

Blondet considers Salar a labor of love.“It’s my baby and it’s my monster,” she said with a proud laugh.

“I call it my baby, and I call it my monster, because is sucks all the energy.”

She anticipates being closed for the foreseeable future for repairs.

How to help Salar employees

To help the employees of Salar who are indefinitely out of work following the fire, donate to