Early this morning Umami in Tempe suffered a small fire that has the restaurant shut down due to fire, smoke, and water damage. The fire, which also caused the evacuation of about building 60 residents, was started by a small motor inside the ramen shop's ice machine. At the time of the fire the restaurant was closed and empty.
Owner and chef Jared Lupin opened the restaurant in fall 2013, after winning a contest that offered six months free rent and six months of free PR and marketing to the entrepreneur/s with the best idea for the space that formerly housed The Center Bistro. The restaurant is located on the backside of the Brickyard building off Mill Avenue, inside The Center, a brownstone-style mixed-use complex at 21 East Sixth Street.
Lupin has asked fans and customers not to make donations towards the repairs, but to pre-purchase bowls of ramen instead. Umami will be posting a link on the restaurant's Facebook page that will allow diners to buy $8 bowls of ramen, which Lupin will personally serve when the restaurant reopens.
The proceeds will go towards rebuilding efforts and staff relief.
Umami expects to be open by early next week, hopefully by Tuesday at the latest. The restaurant will also be planning a reopening event, from which a portion of the proceeds go to the Tempe Fire Department's charity of choice.
For more information keep an eye on the Umami Facebook page.