Armando is ‘heartbroken’
The owner of a popular Italian restaurant in Cromwell is ‘‘devastated’’ and ‘‘heartbroken’’ after the kitchen was destroyed by fire.
Armando’s Kitchen has been closed indefinitely after the Sunday night fire.
Owner Armando Varlotta said the restaurant, which was in an historic building in the Old Cromwell Precinct, was ‘‘absolutely destroyed’’.
‘‘I am very upset. I’m just taking it day by day at the moment. I am devastated for a lot of reasons. It is a place where customers become friends, where people gather and meet people, spend time sharing fun and laughter.‘‘
The Old Cromwell Trust owned the building and he was unsure if he would be able to rebuild the business at the site.
‘‘This is not going to happen overnight. I need to set up everything from scratch. If I don’t get it right, I will destroy everything I have built up.‘‘
Fire risk management officer John Small said no one was at the premises when the fire was noticed about 8.45pm.
‘‘It’s still under investigation and we don’t know anything for sure but it’s believed to be a fault with the refrigerator in the kitchen [that caused the fire].’’
The restaurant kitchen was totally destroyed. The dining room and a neighbouring jewellery store suffered smoke damage.
Armando Varlotta inside the burned-out kitchen of his Old Cromwell restaurant, Armando’s Kitchen.