Holy Frijoles, a popular Mexican restaurant in Hampden, will be closed indefinitely after a fire in the kitchen early Monday, the owner said.

The Baltimore Fire Department is investigating the cause of the blaze, which began just before 2 a.m. in the restaurant in the 900 block of W. 36th St. All of the kitchen appliances had been turned off, owner Geoffrey Danek said, adding that he doesn't know how it could have started.

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The restaurant was empty, and no one was injured. Holy Frijoles normally would have still been open, Danek said, but it had closed early, about 1 a.m., after a relatively slow night.

Sections of the ceiling hung down inside the darkened restaurant Monday morning. Shards of glass covered the entrances, where both front doors had been smashed by firefighters forcing entry to put out the fire.

Much of the damage appeared to be from smoke and the effort to extinguish the fire, Danek said.

"I went in," he said. "It's a mess."

An early morning fire damaged Holy Frijoles in Hampden.
An early morning fire damaged Holy Frijoles in Hampden. (Colin Campbell / Baltimore Sun)
A fire early Monday caused significant damage to Holy Frijoles, a Mexican restaurant in Hampden.
A fire early Monday caused significant damage to Holy Frijoles, a Mexican restaurant in Hampden. (Colin Campbell / Baltimore Sun)

The fire was contained to the restaurant's original building at 908 W. 36th St. and didn't spread to its adjacent building, where the restaurant expanded in 1999, Danek said. Both sides sustained smoke and water damage.

Danek said he doesn't know how long Holy Frijoles will remain closed.

The restaurant employs 26 people, and Danek was visibly upset about the prospect of them being unemployed during the cleanup. He hugged a few friends and co-workers who stopped by and peered inside.

Holy Frijoles' 20th anniversary was last month, but the restaurant never had a celebration, Danek said.

"We had 20 years to plan a party and never got around to it," Danek said.

Danek found out about the fire when a neighbor came knocking frantically at his home nearby in Hampden about 6:30 a.m. He said he didn't know what to expect when he arrived.

"It's a relief that it's not the whole entire thing," he said.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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