Bethesda – The Fire

Everything you wanted to know about the Tastee Diner Fire but were afraid to ask:



Where do we begin?  On Friday evening June 21, 2002, at about 6:00 p.m., a fire started in an electrical outlet in the corner of the front grill.  Within minutes it spread through the wall and up through the roof.  Flames could be seen “shooting” through the roof.  The Fire Department (God Bless them) arrived within minutes and put the fire out quickly.   When Gene saw them go up on the roof with chainsaws and hatchets, we all thought he was going to have a coronary, but if it was not for their efforts, the fire might have been worse than it was.  We all will forever be in their debt, they are truly our heroes.  Speaking of heroes, there are too many to mention here but you know who you are and we will always be most grateful for your tireless efforts in restoring our beloved “Tastee Diner”.
The restoration took longer than anyone expected, the roof was our major holdup but when it was completed we have to say they did a great job.  Everyday was a new experience for us who are familiar in dealing with a restaurant not construction but we learned each day and got use to it very quickly.  Some days were better than others just like in life, one step at a time.  We went to great lengths to keep things the same as it was before the fire and personally think we did a great job.  The bulkhead to the right as you enter the door was completely destroyed in the fire so we could not salvage it, all the equipment is brand new and shiny but not for long.  We added a few of our own little touches, such as our picture history though-out the Diner of the fire and the all the individuals who put in their blood, sweat and a possibly a lot of tears in this endeavor.
In closing, we do not know how to thank so many people involved in this ordeal.  First and foremost we want to thank our customers for all their support and encouragement, we would be nothing without you.  All of the tradesmen, our employees, Montgomery County, our local politicians, Doug Duncan, Connie Morella and Howie Denis, Bethesda Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, and if we left anyone out it was not intentional and last but not least we want to thank our boss Gene Wilkes.  It would have been so easy for you to take the generous offer to sell the Diner, but thank God you said no.  Without your constant and we do mean constant day and night vigilance and supervision none of this would have happened, we are forever indebted to you.  A mere thank you does not seem enough but it is from our hearts.
It is good to be back, Happy Dining.
The Staff, Bethesda Tastee Diner