New Ottawa restaurant set on fire hours after grand opening

OTTAWA — A late night arson was caught on video outside a newly-opened Ottawa restaurant, which had celebrated its grand opening just hours before.

Surveillance video shows what appears to be a man attempting to smash the front window of the Super Salads restaurant on Preston Street with a brick before setting fire to the front steps.

“He took the jerry can, sprayed it all over the porch and along the front of the building even a bit on the side,” restaurant co-owner Bongo Bicher told CTV News. “It really just looked like a targeted attack against us, which was just devastating.”

The video was posted to Instagram on Sunday and has been seen more than 30,000 times.

Ottawa firefighters were called to the scene late Saturday and said there were no injuries. The covered porch area was damaged and Ottawa police are investigating the arson.

Peter McAteer lives in one of the apartments above the shop.

“Not only was a business almost ruined but they almost killed people living above the business,” he said.

The eatery, a Los Angeles-inspired salad bar, had its grand opening on Saturday.

“We had a phenomenal day and served over a hundred customers,” Bicher said.

Bicher had worked around the clock for six weeks to get the take-out order up and running. It’s now closed, but he says the community has already come to his aid.

“We’ve had an outpouring of support from the community and people willing to donate wood to replace the porch,” he said.

Artist Emily Rose painted a mural on the building, which was scorched by the flames, but said she’s already sketching out some new ideas.

“We’ll brighten it back up and get it fixed up brand new, maybe even try to incorporate some of this as a memory so we’ll see what happens,” she said.

Repairs to the exterior will soon be underway. Bicher hopes to hold a grand reopening in the coming weeks.

“This is just a speed bump on the road that we’re about to take. We just need to keep our heads held high and stay positive.”

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