Fire at Berkeley’s Great China restaurant on Kittredge St.

Flames in the building at 2115 Kittredge Street. Photo: Jorge Toledo

Update,01.26.12, 5:50 pm: A Bay City News report puts the value of the fire damage to Great China restaurant at $700,000. The fire also destroyed the restaurant’s stock of wine, according to Berkeleyside reader Foster, a fan of the restaurant, who writes: “James Yu, the second generation owner, said it would be six months before they will be able to reopen. James’ wonderful wine collection was lost.” (Berkeley winemaker Chris Brockman of Broc Cellars recently selected Great China’s wine list as one of his favorites, for no other reason, he said, than it was “completely unexpected”.)

Update, 01.26.12, 10:45 am: The fire broke out at around 9:20 pm last night in the kitchen of Great China restaurant and spread through the hood and flue of the cooking range. According to Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong, the fire was upgraded to a 2-alarm when flames caught at the ceiling and roof joists. The fire was settled by 11:30 pm, but firefighters stayed on the scene to ensure it didn’t retake. Contrary to our earlier report, the fire did not affect Razan’s Organic Kitchen which is in the same building and next door to Great China, and that restaurant has been given the all-clear to open today. There were no injuries.

Original story: Tipster Lexy Green sent us an alert tonight at 9:43 pm saying there had been a fire this evening in the building that houses Razan’s Organic Kitchen Great China restaurant, at 2115 Kittredge Street in downtown Berkeley. The photo above, by Jorge Toledo, shows flames emerging from the top rear of the building.

On Twitter, @AChanceFind wrote the following at 9:47: pm: Looks like Chinese restaurant on Kittredge has a kitchen/roof fire. Fire dept has it under control.” This was followed at 10:03 pm by: “I live nearby and watched outside for a while. Crowd has mostly dispersed and it seems well under control. A+ to BFD!”


Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong told the Daily Californian that the fire started in a flue between Razan’s and Great China restaurant next door. It broke out at 9:30 and was contained a short time later. Both restaurants were evacuated.