Two month waiting listFeb 22nd, 2012 | By William Dilella | Category: Top Story
Rocky and Carlo’s, considered a Parish staple by many an avid restaurant-goer, suffered considerable damage due to a fire this last week that started in the rear of the restaurant, destroying the kitchen and creating significant smoke damage in the dining area.
In the early morning of Sunday, February 12, fire spread from the kitchen of the Creole-Italian-Cajun style eatery, causing irreparable damage to both the inside serving area and to the roof of the structure on 613 W. St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette.
Fire Chief Thomas Stone says that the restaurant has filed a claim for $225,000 in an effort to repair damage from a fire caused by the spontaneous combustion of rags in the kitchen. A clean-up crew had visited the restaurant the night before the fire to wash five loads of rags, but they only washed the rags once, leaving a flammable residue of oil and dirt on the used rags. Left in a five-gallon bucket under the kitchen sink, the rags oxidized and caught fire, destroying the kitchen entirely and leaving the roof with partial fire damage. The only area left unscathed was the Sicilian room.
Tommy Tommaseo, owner of Rocky and Carlo’s, declined to give any statement except that the restaurant will be rebuilt. Contractors have already begun their assessment, as insurance adjusters detail the full extent of the damage.
The Chief has noted that there’s been a lot of activity at the restaurant and hopes to see it make a quick comeback as it’s such an important part of the St. Bernard community. “I’d gone myself the night before the fire,” Chief Stone said. “My daughter had had an exceptional day at school and we all went to dinner to celebrate.”
St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce CEO Stephen Reuther commented on the community loss.
“It’s devastating when something as unpredictable as a fire happens to a small business,” Reuther said. “It’s exceptionally difficult for the community when that business is a cultural and culinary landmark that brings people in from all parts of the New Orleans area. Hopefully the staff and employees at Rocky’s can hold tight until the restaurant is back up and running, and I’m sure that with Tommy’s [Tommaseo] energy and passion for good food, Rocky and Carlo’s will be back in operation within a couple of months.”