Extra-alarm fire damages popular restaurant in Oak Park. ‘We are losing a big institution.’Cindy Hernandezon November 23, 2021 at 7:11 pm

There were no immediate reports of injuries from the fire that damaged Delia’s Kitchen, 1034 Lake St. in Oak Park, though some buildings were evacuated and roads were closed. | Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

There were no immediate reports of injuries from the fire at a building that houses Delia’s Kitchen at 1034 Lake St.

An extra-alarm fire damaged a popular restaurant in Oak Park Tuesday morning and forced the evacuation of surrounding buildings.

Firefighters were called to 1034 Lake St. around 9:30 a.m., according to the Oak Park Fire Department. Delia’s Kitchen is on the first floor of that building.

Veronica Ciobotaru, owner of the restaurant, had been taking her first day off in weeks on Tuesday when she got the phone call telling her the building was on fire.

A distraught Ciobotaru was on Lake Street Monday afternoon, watching firefighters from a nearby corner. She doesn’t know much about what could have started the fire; it was all still sinking in.

“I don’t know what else I can tell you,” Ciobotaru said before walking off.

Summer Piggee has lived in Oak Park for 20 years and Delia’s Kitchen has become a part of her life.

“We are losing a big institution of not only a business but of a really a family — an Oak Park family,” Piggee said. “I believe everybody who lives here comes to Delia’s at least once a month. They have the best pancakes in the country.”

Piggee said she hopes they can rebuild and come back better after surviving pandemic-related shutdowns.

“Veronica has done so much for this community and we need to support her during this time,” said Piggee, who has developed a friendship with the owner over the years. “Like the Chicago Fire, we can rebuild.”

The fire was put out shortly before 1 p.m. Lake Street was shut down for several blocks as firefighters worked on the blaze, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

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