Between massive damage from a fire earlier this year and the demolition work required to fix it, the owners of Takamatsu restaurant at 5532 E. Speedway Blvd. thought anything of value had been incinerated or disposed of.
But then the thieves started breaking in, and they realized they were very, very wrong.
“We’ve had issues with vandals — actually I should call them thieves — who’ve been breaking in and stripping the copper piping and electrical wiring,” said Peter Koga, who manages the Tucson location and others in the Phoenix area. “We (demolished) the building until we thought there was nothing left, but then these thieves came. They even took TEP’s meter.”
Despite the almost nightly raids on the restaurant, repairs continue. The early morning fire in June was contained to one part of the building, but heat and fire damage weren't. The entire inside of the building had to be gutted, deodorized and sandblasted, and most of the furniture and equipment had to be discarded.
Koga said he planned to have the restaurant open by now, but the thieves and other setbacks have made it far more difficult than expected. He’s shooting for a March reopening now, and said he’ll post updates on the restaurant’s Facebook page when he knows more.
“People are thinking it’s abandoned, but it’s not,” said Koga. “We’re definitely opening up, and we’re going to be better than before.”