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Iconic Pilsen Restaurant Nuevo Leon Looks For Help After Devastating Fire

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Dec 3, 2015 3:31PM

One of Pilsen's oldest and most popular restaurants, Nuevo Leon, burned down overnight Wednesday in a devastating extra alarm fire that also claimed a neighboring Tortilleria Sabinas.

The restaurant's owners and staff are now looking to rebuild with the help of the public through a GoFundMe set up Wednesday. Their goal is to raise $50,000, the Gutierrez Family, which has owned the restaurant since it opened in 1962, said.

"This was one of Pilsen's best dining spots, with plenty of regulars, and great authentic Mexican food," they write. "This incident affected more than 50 families. Being just 3 weeks before Christmas, lets show Nuevo Leon's employees our support and donate what you can so that in this season, they also feel the warmth and joy of the holidays."

As of Thursday morning they had raised just over $2,000.

The restaurant had insurance, owner Daniel Gutierrez told the Tribune.

“I’m worried about my employees right now, then my customers,” he said.

Daniel Gutierrez, Jr. was there when the building went up in flames. He closed the restaurant at about 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, then went upstairs to watch TV before falling asleep, he told the Tribune. He realized there was a fire in the building when he woke up the room was filled with smoke. He said he's devastated by the loss of the restaurant, which he grew up playing in, but is glad he got out alive.

The family's plan is to open a temporary restaurant across the street so employees won't be unemployed during the holiday season.