Restaurant, owner get second chance after fire

Posted at 6:53 PM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 19:34:05-04

MARIEMONT, Ohio — After a fire destroyed his restaurant and sent him to the hospital, one local restaurateur is excited to return to work — and to a normal life.

Luis Hernandes, with his brother, Santiago, owns and operates El Trio Mexican Grill on Wooster Pike in Mariemont. The restaurant had to close in February after a fire damaged the building and Luis, who was in the building when the blaze caught, was hospitalized with third-degree burns.

But now, two months later, both Luis and his business are looking forward to a new start.

“I think God gave me another opportunity to be here,” Luis told WCPO, “to do what I like, to enjoy my family, and to serve the community.”

Luis said, shortly after the fire, he wasn’t sure he’d ever see a day like today again, with customers bustling in his newly re-opened restaurant.

“When things like this happen, sometimes you feel, ‘Oh, man, this is over,’” he said. “Seeing my brother and the attitude makes me happy.”

For Santiago, the memory of seeing his brother burning alive is still a vivid source of pain, but now — like his brother — he’s feeling revitalized as business gets back to normal.

“I feel like we're back to life,” Santiago added.

As part of Luis and his businesses’ mutual recovery, the community chipped in and fundraised.

“I feel glad in the hard moments,” Luis said. “The community supported my family.”