A fire has delayed reopening plans. Now an Indian restaurant is holding a fundraiser to support its staff

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In the early morning hours of May 5, a fire broke out at Mint, an Indo-Pakistani restaurant in Laguna Hills.

Firefighters responded to a report of smoke around 3 a.m. coming from the mall on Alicia Parkway where the restaurant is located. The fire was extinguished in less than 20 minutes and there were no reports of injuries or damage to nearby establishments.

Yet the damage from the small, short-lived fire is still being felt by Mint staff. The restaurant had to postpone its grand reopening, scheduled for the end of last month. The restaurant was undergoing a space and menu overhaul that began in early 2022. It now looks like the closure will continue for the foreseeable future, with a planned reopening in late 2022 or early 2023.

“We are extremely grateful that none of our employees or neighbors were injured, and while this has been a truly devastating time, we look forward to rebuilding Mint and once again serving our Laguna Hills and greater county community. of Orange,” the Mint chief said. Chef Jamil Hosseini said in a statement.

In the meantime, Mint’s sister concept Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen is stepping in to help.

Located across the county in downtown Fullerton, Khan Saab plans to donate 10% of monthly sales to financially assist the Mint team as they rebuild the Laguna Hills restaurant, which is expected to take six to eight months.

“We have been devastated by the unfortunate fire at our partner restaurant, Mint, and are committed to supporting the staff and team throughout the rebuild,” said Khan Saab Executive Chef Imran “Ali” Mookhi. . “Mint was a mainstay in Laguna Hills for many loyal customers, especially those who practice halal in Orange County.”

Ongoing fundraising in Khan Saab begins June 14.

With its redesign, Mint hoped to reintroduce itself to Orange County as an elevated space with a reinvigorated menu and modernized decor. Hana Mousavi of Savi Interiors added long dark blue velor booths and a mix of blush velor chairs and studded leather seats to the dining area. Plans for similar design choices will be incorporated into post-fire reconstruction.

The renovated dining room of the Mint restaurant, which was destroyed in a fire in early May.

(Andre Bui)

In the meantime, Mint hopes South County diners will make the trip to Fullerton where its Michelin-recognized sister concept also offers 100% halal meals and handcrafted alcohol-free mocktails.

“Until Mint reopens, we hope to provide a place for Mint’s fan community to enjoy familiar, high-quality halal desi cuisine while they’re away,” Mookhi said.

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