Weather Forecast


Kinni Cafe ready to reopen after fire

Frank Balazi (left) and Chelsea Leighton stand in their restaurant, the Kinni Cafe, with son Asher. The Kinni Cafe is set to reopen Monday, April, 24, Leighton said.

After more than three weeks, the Kinni Cafe will be ready to reopen Monday, April 24.

"We are very eager to get open and see everybody again," said owner Chelsea Leighton.

Leighton owns the restaurant with Frank Balazi.

The restaurant has been closed these past several weeks due to fire damage.

Leighton said she and Balazi got quite a shock the morning of March 29.

"We got a call about 5:20 that morning from our waitress that had opened the restaurant that morning for us," Leighton said.

A fire had broken out overnight, in the stove.

"We got dressed right away, shot down there," Leighton said. "There fire department was pulling up right behind us, and it was definitely an unexpected, eventful day."

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Moody said when the fire department arrived, the fire was out. He said the fire started in a grease pan under the grille.

Leighton said a piece on the back of the stove was melted, which lead her to believe a mechanical or electrical problem in the stove started the fire.

The fire was quickly put out by the sprinkler system, however, Leighton said, that caused significant water damage.

"My staff has been super helpful," she said. "They've all been here every day helping out with whatever they can."

Although the situation has been very stressful, Leighton said, there have been a few silver linings. One of those has been getting some extra family time.

"I don't think Frank and I and the baby have had this much time together," she said.

"A nice spring cleaning, I guess is what we got out of the whole thing."

Everyone from customers to other businesses have been very supportive, Leighton said. Leighton said she'd like to thank everyone for their patience and well-wishes.

Said Leighton: "We can't wait to see everybody on Monday."



Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

(715) 426-1048