House fire on Oxford Street kills the three dogs of owner of La Note restaurant

firefighters carrying a ladder
Firefighters respond to a house fire on the 1200 block of Oxford St. Photo: Sophie Hahn

Noted restaurateur Dorothée Mitrani will not be hosting the Thanksgiving dinner at her house she had planned.

A fire ripped through her home in the 1200 block of Oxford Street on Tuesday night, killing Mitrani’s three dogs and seriously damaging the structure, according to Naomi Starkman, a friend.

Mitrani, who owns La Note restaurant on Shattuck Avenue, is devastated by the death of her beloved pets, said Starkman, as well as the damage to her beautifully curated home.

“She is a beloved human being in Berkeley,” said Starkman. “Her home, just like her restaurant, is a source of conviviality and incredible beauty.”


firetrucks and hose at night
Berkeley firefighters on scene of a house fire in 1200 block of Oxford Street. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
firefighters huddle
Firefighters confer on fighting a fire on Oxford Street. Photo: Sophie Hahn

The Berkeley Fire Department got a report of the fire at 8:41 p.m., said Deputy Fire Chief Abraham Roman. Firefighters responded to the scene and observed flames reaching to the roof. The first story of the three-story wood home was heavily damaged and upper floors are damaged, too, he said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, said Roman.

About 25 firefighters responded to the scene and departed around 1 a.m Wednesday, said Roman.

City Councilwoman Sophie Hahn, who represents the area and is friends with Mitrani, said the top floor of the house was gutted and there is smoke damage throughout. No one was home when the fire broke out, she said.

“I am so grateful that no residents or firefighters were hurt, but very sad to hear of the loss of beloved pets,” said Hahn. “Dorothée has been so generous to Berkeley for decades – keeping La Note lively and delicious, giving hundreds of BHS students their first jobs and serving on the Downtown Berkeley Association board. I wish her and her family the best as they recover from this tragic fire.”

Mitrani was insured but her friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help her get back on her feet.

“She now finds herself in a situation with literally nothing and having to start over completely,” the GoFundMe page reads. “If you’ve been touched by Dorothée and her remarkable, loving spirit, please join us in giving back to her.”

Mitrani had been planning to hold Thanksgiving at her house, said Starkman. She often hosts gatherings for friends and the community. Just last week, Mitrani had a gathering for women. Ironically, Starkman moved briefly into Mitrani’s house a few weeks ago after she was ordered to evacuate her Sonoma home because of the threat of fires.

“We need to get her resituated,” said Starkman.

Mitrani raised her two children, Lucas and Clementine, in the house, said Starkman. Mitrani named a former restaurant on Kittredge, Cafe Clem, after her daughter.