Pismo’s restaurant temporarily closed after 2 small kitchen fires

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Pismo’s Coastal Grill in northwest Fresno is temporarily closed after two kitchen fires broke out on Sunday.

Earlier in the afternoon, crews were called out to the restaurant off Nees and Blackstone Avenues for a small kitchen fire they quickly put out.

Firefighters were called again around 11:30 pm after employees saw smoke smoldering between the kitchen walls while they were closing up.

Fire crews returned to put out the smoke. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We’re trying to figure out how it got between the walls. If you see the structure of the walls and how the kitchen is designed, it’s confusing a bit to see how it could’ve actually made its way back there,” said Fire Battalion Chief Brad Dandridge.

No one was hurt.

The restaurant owner will now meet with the county health department to determine when the business can reopen.

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Martha Lou’s Kitchen, peninsular Charleston’s preeminent soul food destination, has closed | Raskin Around

Martha Lou’s Kitchen, which was vaulted to international fame by well-placed soul food fans, including chefs Sean Brock, Andrew Zimmern and Sara Moulton, has served its last plate of fried chicken.

As first reported by WCBD, the Morrison Drive institution closed Sept. 1, following the sale of the iconic pink building that housed Martha Lou Gadsden’s celebrated cooking for 37 years. According to Gadsden’s granddaughter, Melanie Alston, the building previously owned by Craig Bennett is slated for demolition.



Goose Creek artist creates an itty-bitty Martha Lou's Kitchen

Gadsden, 90, apparently isn’t overly concerned about being displaced after decades of renting.

“It’s her retirement age,” said Alston. “But she is going to miss doing business.”

Business barely dropped off following the onset of the coronavirus.

“We did well during the pandemic,” Alston said, attributing the ongoing success to the restaurant’s overwhelming popularity and facility with takeout items such as turkey wings, lima beans, baked chicken and collard greens.

Alston isn’t ruling out serving those customer favorites again. Martha Lou’s will continue to offer catering services and the family is discussing whether to eventually reopen the restaurant in another location.

“If we’re going to have something else independently, we’re going to revisit that in six months to a year,” said Alston, who for two years ran Martha Lou’s Kitchen #2 in North Charleston.

In a 2016 oral history interview with the Southern Foodways Alliance, Gadsden said she started her restaurant career as a waitress at the legendary Ladson House Restaurant on President Street in the late 1960s when her nine children were old enough to take care of themselves.

She opened her own restaurant in 1983 in a converted service station, selling hot dogs and soda pop.

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But Gadsden was eager to distinguish her kitchen from the snack bars around town, so soon switched to making the kind of home-cooked dishes she could create again and again without consulting a recipe, such as smothered pork chops and okra soup.

Still, she admitted her repertoire wasn’t complete: She wasn’t satisfied with her biscuits, so instead served sweetened Jiffy cornbread at her restaurant.

“I like what I do and I do what I like, and if I didn’t like it it would be a drudgery, but I like it,” Gadsden told the interviewer. “I don’t never get up in the morning and say, ‘Oh, Lord; I don’t know what today going to be.’ I get up with a meaningful attitude. I’m ready to go — ready to go. As long as I can go, I’m going.”

Brock’s affection for Martha Lou’s and its owner was documented in a 2011 New York Times column, which concluded, “In the cosmology of Southern cooking, Martha Lou’s is no dwarf planet. It is close to the sun itself.”

Then-critic Sam Sifton’s praise incited a torrent of additional press coverage: Bon Appetit characterized the restaurant as worthy of

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Woman breaks into own kitchen after hungry cats jam the door closed with the food drawer

Cat burglar! Woman has to break into her own kitchen after hungry moggies jam the door closed with the food drawer when they raid it for treats

  • Rachel Straughan filmed the hilarious video in Morpeth, Northumberland   
  • One of her three cats Luna, Mitsy or Effy wanted to get treats from the drawer 
  • It took the pet owner over half an hour to eventually get back into her kitchen 

This is the hilarious moment a woman realises she has been locked out of her kitchen by her cat who had pulled the drawer out to get treats. 

Rachel Straughan realised she was not getting into her kitchen in Morpeth, Northumberland, any time soon as the door wouldn’t open.

As she films her kitchen through the window outside she says one of her pets have lodged the drawer against the door handle, jamming it shut.

One of Rachel Straughan's three cats, Luna, Mitsy or Effy, wanted to get some treats but ended up blocking the entry to the kitchen in Morpeth, Northumberland

One of Rachel Straughan’s three cats, Luna, Mitsy or Effy, wanted to get some treats but ended up blocking the entry to the kitchen in Morpeth, Northumberland

One of her pets have lodged the drawer against the door handle, jamming it shut, as she realises she can't get into her kitchen

Rachel Straughan (pictured) said it took her over half an hour to get into her kitchen after her pet cats had jammed the door shut

One of her pets have lodged the drawer against the door handle, jamming it shut, and Rachel Straughan (pictured) realises she can’t get into her kitchen 

One of her three cats, Luna, Mitsy or Effy, wanted to get some treats but ended up blocking the entry in the process.

The cheeky felines roam around the kitchen counter not realising that they have locked their owner out.

Trying to and gain access into her kitchen, Ms Straughan had to break both the drawer and the door.

She says it took her half an hour to get in, where she found her cats had been tucking into their treats that were sprinkled all across the floor.

They’d burst the packet of Dreamies treats open and had a feast while they had unintentionally locked themselves in the kitchen. 

The annoyed pet owner had to 'shoulder barge the door' to get it open, breaking both the door and the drawer in the process

She found her cats had been tucking into their treats that were sprinkled all across the floor and had burst the packet of Dreamies open

The annoyed pet owner had to ‘shoulder barge the door’ to get it open, breaking both the door and the drawer in the process where she found the cats had been tucking into treats

Their owner asks: ‘Serious?’ As the moggie stays perched on the counter, not realising the hassle it has caused. 

The annoyed pet owner then turns the camera on herself to explain how she managed to break back into the room.

She said she had to ‘shoulder barge the door so that it was open three inches’ so that she was able to get her hand through.

Once her hand was in, she knocked the drawer out on to the floor, causing it to break even further. 

After escaping the event with just a a few bruises on her wrist, she said that she ‘couldn’t believe’ what had happened.  

The cheeky felines roam around the kitchen counter not realising that they have locked their owner out as she films them helplessly from outside the window

The cheeky felines roam around the kitchen counter not realising that they have locked their owner out as she films them helplessly from outside the window 

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Gruene Hall is still closed, but its beer garden has opened


Like most bars and night clubs in Texas, Gruene Hall is closed, but it opened its beer garden on Thursday as a way to still serve its customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Braunfels hall temporarily shut its doors on June 26 after Governor Greg Abbott closed bars again due to COVID-19 cases spiking in the Lone Star State. State officials first shut down bars in March as a way to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Abbott allowed bars to reopen at 50 percent capacity in June, per his “Open Texas” plan.



Bars and similar establishments are allowed to sell its alcohol to-go as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

READ ALSO: El Mirasol Mexican restaurant on Blanco to close soon, but owners will open new spot on Loop 1604 near Stone Oak

Gruene Hall posted on its Facebook page Thursday that its beer garden is opening for to-go beer and wine, noting customers can order their drinks and enjoy it at its picnic tables or while they stroll around town. However, the inside of the hall is remaining closed.

The music venue also uploaded a picture of its beer garden in its post, showing a social distancing sign that laid out a few rules to follow while at the beer garden.


The sign stated no more than six people can be seated at a table or standing together, masks are required (unless seated) and groups must stay six feet apart from each other.

Gruene Hall was built in 1878 and is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall, according to its Facebook page.

Abbott hinted through a tweet on Monday that expanded reopening plans may be in the works for the state. He said there will be no more lockdowns and hopes to share the next steps sometime next week.

Priscilla Aguirre is a general assignment reporter for MySA.com | [email protected] | @CillaAguirre

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