Ar­mando is ‘heart­bro­ken’

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN AND DEB­BIE JAMIESON

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.

JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Ar­mando Var­lotta in­side the burned-out kitchen of his Old Cromwell restau­rant, Ar­mando’s Kitchen.

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