'Katoi Is Bigger Than Any Building,' Owners Say After Fire, Vowing to 'Be Back Soon'
February 17th, 2017, 5:30 PM
Thieves broke into the acclaimed Katoi restaurant, grabbed liquor and lit a devastating fire early Friday, the Free Press and other media report.
"It appears the fire was set to cover the break-in," Deputy Detroit Fire Commissioner David Fornell tells Robert Allen of the paper, who writes:
Nobody was injured in the fire reported at about 6:15 a.m., at Michigan Avenue and 17th.
Arson investigators remain on the scene, and a tote bag of liquor was found by the back door.
Freep food writer Mark Kurlyandchik last week put Katoi atop a list of restaurants that opened in 2016. This week it became a semifinalist in the best new restaurant category of the James Beard Awards, a national competition.
It's owned by executive chef Brad Greenhill and Courtney Henriette, who started with a food truck in 2014 and then opened an Ann Arbor spot that closed when they moved operations to Southwest Detroit.
Before noon Friday, the pair post on Instagram:
Thanks to everyone who has reached out. We are safe. Katoi is bigger than any building, and we will be back soon. To the future & BEYOND!
Intruders apparently entered through a back door, the fire official says. Another break-in occurred a few hours earlier at Nemo's, also on Michigan Avenue less than a mile away, according to Detroit Police. The Freep has details:
A 4-foot by 8-foot window was smashed, burglars gained entry and stole four bottles of liquor and an undisclosed amount of cash. A security monitor was found damaged, and two cash drawers were found removed.
These are among local social media reactions to the news about Katoi:
► "Our hearts hurt for our family at Katoi. We're here for you guys." -- Gold Cash Gold
► "Crushed to hear of the fire at Katoi, an absolute pioneer of a restaurant." -- Devin Scillian, WDIV anchor
► "Heartbreaking news. Katoi is full of delicious food, passionate people, and mad dreams. They will rebuild, and we will all be there to rally around them when they do." -- Corridor Sausage Co.
Dave had an amazing meal at Katoi last week, so sorry to hear about the fire. https://t.co/nhs0BI4iEA— Dave&ChuckTheFreak (@DaveandChuck) February 17, 2017
Could someone tell r/Detroit that nobody burned down Katoi because they didn't like it being in the neighborhood— Aaron Foley (@aaronkfoley) February 17, 2017