By Andrea Swayne
An early morning kitchen fire has closed a longtime Mexican food favorite on S El Camino Real, authorities said.
Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority said three of the four firefighters who first responded to the 2:40 a.m. call Friday, Oct. 9 are from San Clemente and gasped upon hearing the 2313 S El Camino Real address.
They knew immediately it was Pedro’s Tacos, he said, and rushed to the scene to save the restaurant, a staple for more than three decades, especially popular among the city’s surf community.
The blaze was under control at 2:57 a.m., Concialdi said, and the damage, not including loss of revenue, is estimated at about $20,000.
No one was in the restaurant at the time and there were no injuries.
By 10:30 a.m. Friday most of the initial cleanup in the kitchen had been done but manager Mauricio Morales said the grill will need to be repaired or replaced and the Health Department will have to give the all clear before Pedro’s can reopen.
The cause of the fire is still unknown but it looks to investigators to have been accidental, Concialdi said.
Pedro’s owner Ed McNary and his wife are out of town working at their Boston location and got word of the fire at 6 a.m. Friday.
“I want to thank the fire fighters for being so efficient, professional and fast in saving their favorite taco place,” McNary said. “I also really want to thank our dedicated, loyal and hardworking employees for cleaning things up so quickly, especially Mauricio for taking care of everything.”
McNary said his crew will continue cleaning, painting and getting things back in working order and they are hoping to be ready to reopen by Monday.
Surfers with a post-session hankerin’ for Pedro’s fish tacos, rolled tacos and BRC burritos will be happy to know that the 550 N El Camino Real location is open.