Fire damages popular 6th Ave. brunch spot, adjoining restaurant. When will they reopen?

A fire broke out Friday morning in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue Business District that caused smoke damage to popular brunch spot Dirty Oscar’s Annex and destroyed North China Garden’s kitchen.

Dirty Oscar’s will be closed for the weekend, general manager and controller Carleen Preble said, but she hopes it can reopen early next week. North China Garden is a different story. The back wall and roof of the business looked charred and blackened by flames.

“We literally are hoping for days with Dirty Oscar, not weeks,” Preble said. “North China is going to be a little bit harder. We just got double slammed.”

Both businesses are owned by Kwan and Jenny Yee. Standing on a sidewalk while firefighters worked the scene, Jenny said her business’s entire kitchen was gone. The husband and wife have owned North China Garden for nearly 20 years, she said. Jenny said she didn’t know how long it would take to reopen, but she was grateful no one had been hurt.

It’s not clear how the fire started or where it originated. Tacoma Fire Department responded at about 7:44 a.m. to the 2300 block of 6th Avenue. A house on the corner of 6th and Trafton Street was also damaged. The home owner, Tim Chan, said it was in the process of being remodeled, and no one was living there when the fire started.

Fire officials said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The dining areas of both Dirty Oscar’s Annex and North China Garden were untouched, but Preble said most of DOA’s inventory was lost to smoke. She said firefighters had to break through North China Garden’s ceiling to put out the fire, and they’re still assessing whether DOA took any water damage. The business’s share a common wall.

The dining area of Dirty Oscar’s Annex was undamaged after a fire broke out Friday morning on 6th Avenue.
The dining area of Dirty Oscar’s Annex was undamaged after a fire broke out Friday morning on 6th Avenue.

Preble, who’s out of town, said staff at Dirty Oscar’s was prepping to open at 7:30 a.m. when a chef called her about smoke coming out of the office and alarms going off. She credited him for acting quickly to get the Fire Department to respond.

DOA has a secondary location in Sumner, Mini Oscar’s Annex, 813 Academy St., and Preble said she hopes customers will support the business while repairs are made.

“We’re not out of business, and we’re going to be opening, whether that’s Tuesday or Wednesday or however humanly possible,” Preble said. “I’m going to be in on Sunday, I don’t care if I’m having to go to US Foods in 15 trips to restock. We’re going to open, and we’re going to open in the community as soon as possible.”