Elsie's Damaged by Late Night Fire

A kitchen fire broke out late Monday night at Elsie's on Mount Auburn Street and the managers of the Harvard Square landmark yesterday closed the sandwich shop for remodeling.

The Cambridge Fire Department responded at 11:34 p.m. Monday to the fire in the venerable eatery with one squad car, three engines, one ariel tower and one rescue unit, said Lieutenant John O'Leary of the Cambridge Fire Department.

An Elsie's employee wielding a dry chemical extinguisher put the fire out, O'Leary said.

Elsie's Manager Phil Martel said that no customers were inside when the fire broke out in the back of a refrigerator. Fire Department personnel and a Housing Inspector from the Cambridge Board of Health remained at the scene until 1 a.m.

"The restaurant was shut down Tuesday for cleaning and ordering more food and paper goods," said Cambridge Sanitary Inspector Tina Rabanis. Actual smoke damage was minimal but supplies had to be thrown away in accordance with Board of Health policy.

But Martel said that he closed the store for remodeling purposes. "It was a little smoky, but a night worker put the fire out. It's all cool with the the Board of Health," he said.

"Damage was nil. Our being closed has nothing to do with that. We were scheduled to do some remodeling anyway," Martel said.

Elsie's will be open today for roast beef specials as usual, Martel added.