Mesquite Chili’s Reopens After Destructive Blaze

Mesquite Chili's reopens ten months after fire

Business is back  for a Chili’s location in Mesquite after it burned down during the early morning hours of Dec. 6, 2011.

Fire crews battled the two-alarm blaze for hours, but ultimately the building could not be saved.

On Monday morning, city leaders and Chili’s employees celebrated a new, restored building at a ribbon cutting in Mesquite.

When the the fire swallowed the restaurant near Town East Mall, employee  Amber Williams worried her job went up in flames with the building.

"I just broke down, I was like freaking out,” said Williams. “'What am I going to do? What am I going to do? Christmas, haven't got anything for my children for Christmas, nothing.'"

Now, ten months later, she and 88 other employees are back to work. The restaurant has added 72 jobs and a new look as part of a nationwide re-imaging project.

"We got here early, we established a great reputation, the city of Mesquite loved us, we're ready to be back in business again,” said Brinker CEO, Doug Brooks.

The restaurant first opened its doors in the city in 1986 and the city officials hope the new facelift will push other businesses to re-boost the area.

"That’s a good thing,” said Mesquite Mayor John Monaco. “Potential future restaurants that will locate in other places in the city, they all watch these things."

For the workers, the re-building isn’t just restoring jobs, it’s revitalizing a well-known spot that been in the community for 25 years.

"Now that it's open, we're all excited, it feels like its a home,” said Katie Crabtree, Mesquite resident who also works at the restaurant.

"I'm excited, I'm excited to be back at my second home,” said Williams.

Officials said the fire damage was so severe, a cause was never determined.

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