A 100+-year-old restaurant in the Delta, Giusti's, burned to the ground on Thursday, and the owner thinks the cause may have been a propane water heater.
The Walnut Grove restaurant has stood in the same spot for over a century, beginning as a saloon and evolving into a family restaurant in the 1940s. Known for its minestrone soup and its collection of trucker hats tacked to the ceiling, Giusti's endured over the decades and was featured a few years back on Guy Fieri's Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Giusti's website proclaims that it is the "oldest restaurant and bar in the California Delta."
"It takes about a hundred and something years to get a nice family restaurant going, and it takes about three hours to ruin it," said Mark Morais, Giusti's owner, speaking to ABC 10.
No one was hurt in the fire, Morais said. The blaze was reported around 3 p.m. and quickly engulfed the building, as KCRA reports. Morais explained that there was a strange smell in the restaurant, and his son found small fires around the water heater, which he put out with an extinguisher — but the fire had gotten into a back wall and soon spread.
""[When] we got here, there was fire out the back of the building, up the wall," said Walnut Grove Assistant Fire Chief Dave Robinson, per KCRA. "There's old saloon-style construction, so it was already up the attic when we got to the scene already."
Giusti's was built by Morais's grandfather in 1912, and has been in his family ever since.
Despite a total loss of the building, ABC 10 reported that Morais was telling customers that they would "find a way to pull through this."