In the early morning hours of Monday, May 8, a fire broke out at Reo’s Ribs, causing significant damage to the well-loved barbecue restaurant in a former trolley station at 4211 N.E. Sandy Boulevard in the heart of the Hollywood district.
Portland Fire and Rescue reported the blaze at 3:30 a.m. and other outlets are reporting that neighbors saw people running from the scene. City crews quickly extinguished the fire and the cause of the fire has not been released. The amount of damage has also not been assessed.
Reo’s Ribs is co-owned by Reo Varnado and Myra Girod and opened in the former home of the Hollywood Burger Bar in November of 2015.
At the time of the fire, Varnado was in Los Angeles to tape an episode of Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party. Varnado is an uncle of the show’s host, Snoop Dogg, and a regular guest on the show, sharing recipes and kitchen tips. Before taping the show, Varnado posted a video to his Facebook page.
“I’m very sad this morning, but I can get over it,” said a tearful Varnado. “I want to thank everybody for the support and for sending out their prayers and their shouts. I appreciate it. I’m glad nobody was hurt. I know God is right here with me. I’m going to continue to pray and ask God to wipe away my tears and help me to pull through this and help me to be strong and help me to hang in there. My heart is sad, but there’s still joy and happiness. I’m not going to give up. I’m not done yet and I’ll be back. It’s hard, but everything’s going to be all right.”
By 9:00 Monday morning, crews from Statewide Fire Restoration had boarded the windows, patched the roof and cleaned up most of the water damage and debris on the corner lot. TriMet service to the busy bus stop west of Varnado’s restaurant was restored and back to normal by 10:00 a.m.
The property has been the site of at least one other fire. A stove-hood blaze closed Craig and Inka Elliott’s burger bar for five weeks almost ten years ago. Although damage to the building is not insignificant, neighbors are hopeful that Varnado will be able to rebuild and reopen soon and are looking for ways to help. Details will be posted here as they become available.
Friends and neighbors began hanging flowers on the chain link fence surrounding the property Tuesday afternoon, and have started a GoFundMe page here: www.gofundme.com.