I had no idea that Los Aztecas burned down today here in Allendale, as we're located miles on the other side of town. M-45 was partly closed until almost 6pm and I came by only about an hour after they reopened the road.
My first view was driving east on M-45 Lake Michigan Drive, so I pulled over and took a quick picture. The dark center of nothing should've shown the building quite well with the late afternoon sun. (Click on photo for larger.)
Another car had pulled over behind me, then went around me and drove around back -- a number of residents were walking around the site as well, including a couple of baby strollers? (Click on photo for larger.)
You can no longer tell here, but this building's massive silvery roof dominated the appearance of the structure -- what's left is just the back of the shell, making it look like just a shack restaurant rather than someplace rather nice. (Click on photo for larger.)
UPDATE 6:10 p.m. ALLENDALE, Mich. (WZZM) -- An order of mexican food at Los Aztecas turned into a massive grease fire that sent diners and a restaurant worker running.
Employee Carlos Onate said, "Everything started in the kitchen, don't know how it happened, just run to outside, bring people out from the building, and I called 911."
The smoke was so bad the workers next door (PEK -- It's an oil change place.) had trouble breathing.
Ben Miller said, "It was a little bit of a panic the fact that the smoke was filling up our building pretty quickly, had to grab rags, cover our faces, try not to breathe it at all. It was a horrible smell."
Rescue and fire crews lined the street-- stunned by the extent of the fire.
Brian Terpstra from Gergetown Fire Department said, "Wow, it's not like we get this everyday, lot of fire, lot of heavy smoke."
One person suffered from smoke inhalation. No one else was hurt. The building is considered a total loss.
Allendale Fire Chief Keefe, who led the crews on the ground said, "I think they're unfortunate because they didn't have sprinklers in there if they would have could have saved a lot more of the building than we did."
While fans of the restaurant hope they rebuild the restaurant's three employees worry where they'll work tomorrow
Alas, Channel 13's news is running late because they're showing basketball, Channel 3 is out of Kalamazoo, not Grand Rapids, and Channel 8's news tonight is actually rather bad, but they did report that the kitchen was making a batch of pork carnitas when the fire broke out.
Photo from yelp.
The loss of Los Aztecas is a real shame, because there aren't a lot of restaurants outside of fast food in Allendale to begin with and we really enjoyed their menu. The building was built just a couple of years ago as a southern BBQ place -- my guess is that the chain liked the GVSU people from their several appearances in the Florence AL NCAA Division II Football National Championships and came up here to the source. But southern vinegary BBQ wasn't a good fit for most of the locals and after it closed for a while, Los Aztecas came in maybe two years ago.