Water Street Kitchen on fire at night with fire engines out front

On Friday July 26th at about 8:45 pm, staff at Water Street Kitchen (our neighbors here in Woods Hole) started to smell smoke and could feel that a wall in the kitchen was hot.  They emptied the restaurant and called Falmouth Fire who have a station less than a mile up Woods Hole Road.  Thanks to the bravery and speed of the firefighters, the iconic building that houses Water Street Kitchen and used to house the Fishmongers Cafe was spared.  Except for a firefighter who was treated for heat exhaustion, thankfully no one was seriously hurt.

But there is still significant damage to reconcile with inside the restaurant — walls to be rebuilt, electrical systems to be assessed and upgraded, extensive smoke damage to be cleaned. And here we are right in the heart of the busy season!  For this reason, we have founded a Go Fund Me page to support their speedy recovery and kicked off the donations with our own at $1000.  We estimate that they will need at least $25k right away if they have any hope of making the speedy repairs needed to capture the remainder of the season.

Some have asked, don’t they have insurance?  I am sure they do have some, but if their experience is like ours two summers ago it will not be enough.  In our case, an explosion rocked the Quicks Hole Taqueria when a can of pressurized baking spray got too close to a hot stove.  An employee was hurt (fortunately not seriously), walls singed, electrical systems and equipment damaged, sprinklers deployed so there was water damage as well.  In the end it cost $23k and our insurance policy had a $25k deductible.  In addition, we lost important summer revenues for three full days. It was a devastating blow that was difficult to survive.

The restaurants in the village of Woods Hole operate as an ecosystem.   If you run out of printer paper, napkins, to-go boxes, hot dog buns .. whatever! … you dash next door to pals at Landfall, WSK, Pie and ask to borrow a box or two.  When your shipment comes in, you return what you borrowed.   We share employee parking, we meet in winter to plan cooperative marketing with the Woods Hole Business Assn, we support each other through thick and thin.

A rising tide floats all, and we want to see the excellent Water Street Kitchen floating again. We want to again enjoy their mussel soup, their unique homemade bread with radish butter, their perfectly spiced cioppino as much as you do.  We want to see Chelsea’s sparkle behind the bar, Molly’s welcome at the front door and John’s sly grin holding down the line in back.

Please consider joining us in supporting them on the Go Fund Me page we set up last night.  All proceeds will go to support Water Street Kitchen as they re-build.  Every little bit will help, maybe offer what you would have left as a tip at the bar on a good night. Thank you for supporting our village.  We are so lucky to be in a tight knit community such as this one.

UPDATE:  Met with John and Molly on Sunday to tour the building.  Not an electrical fire as I suspected — caused by a stove being placed too close to a stainless steel covered wall.  This is good news as there is no electrical damage to the building and the wall itself is not weight bearing so the fix should be pretty quick.  Hard part is that three insurance companies are now fighting over who will pay for this, and WSK Team just wants to move ahead to get re-opened.  More detailed update is on the Go Fund Me page above.