Photo: Belmont Fire fighting a smoky blaze at 628 Trapelo Rd.
A late night fire on Sunday, Oct. 27 left heavily damaged a location known as the home to several diners over the past decade, according to Belmont Fire Department.
The blaze in the basement of Tropical Diner at 628 Trapelo Rd. near the intersection of Mill Street caused “extensive smoke … water and heat damage” to the establishment which opened in March of this year, said Belmont Fire Chief David Frizzell at the scene of the fire.
The 6,000 sq.-ft. restaurant and a two-family apartment occupy the site near Waverley Square and adjacent to the Beaver Brook Reservation.
A resident living in the apartment called 911 dispatch at 9:48 p.m. to report smoke coming from the diner’s roof, said Frizzell. Belmont Engines 1 and 3, Ladder 1 and Rescue 1 responded to the site within a few minutes of the initial call where firefighters discovered a fire in the basement of the diner. The blaze was extinguished within an hour.
Frizzell said an investigation has begun to determine how the fire started. Equipment from Watertown and Cambridge assisted at the scene. Frizzell noted that as of 11 p.m. no civilians or firefighters were injured.
The location has been home to diners since the mid-1970s when Andros Diner occupied the spot. Run by the Manetas family, the business was foreclosed by its lender in March 2011 owning the town $75,000 in back taxes.
A year later, in July 2011, Sweet Peach Diner opened, only to close in May 2015. The next occupant was the Phinix Grill that started in November 2015 before the owners turned their attention to operating a food truck and shut its doors late in 2018 followed by the Tropical Diner.
The long standing complaint among potential customers of all the diners has been the lack of parking, with patrons relying on a few off street space along busy Trapelo Road.