The Merritt Bakery in Oakland, popular especially with the elderly but embraced by hipsters too, is closed today after an early morning fire that started in a storage room at the rear of the restaurant. It's the latest in a series of mishaps for the 63-year-old diner, which nearly went out of business three years ago before a series of loans from the City of Oakland.
Also, in 2011, the Merritt was hit with a lawsuit from a former line cook who claimed he was fired after suffering an epileptic seizure on the job. And in 2006, they suffered an electrical fire, but reopened following that.
The fire, as the Chronicle reports today, started after closing, around 2:45 a.m., and was under control within an hour. The photo above show the extent of the damage, which extends to the second floor offices and roof.
Owners Patricia and Charlie Griffis say they hope to reopen, but obviously the damage will need to be assessed, and who knows what the insurance situation is like after the restaurant claimed to be $800,000 in debt as of 2010.
The Merritt Restaurant and Bakery opened in 1952, next to Lake Merritt, at 203 East 18th Street.