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‘Double whammy’: On top of pandemic struggles, Las Cruces restaurant catches fire

las cruces restaurant fire
The owner of Nessa's Cafe in west Las Cruces shows the smoke damage inside her kitchen.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- After struggling to attract customers during the pandemic, a Las Cruces restaurant owner watched her restaurant catch on fire this past weekend.

“It’s just a double whammy," said Vanessa Smith, owner of Nessa's Cafe in west Las Cruces. "Covid caught everybody off guard... but now this completely halts things and shuts us down for a little while.”

Smith told ABC-7 that a cutting board fell onto the pilot light of the stove in the kitchen and caught fire around 10 p.m. Saturday. Thankfully, a neighbor called 911.

“The worst came to mind because I saw so many fire trucks out there," Smith said. “It’s going to cost a good penny."

Smith estimates the repairs will likely cost at least $6,000. Her friend has organized a GoFundMe to help raise the money.

Since 2016, Smith said she's had a loyal base of customers that have supported her, even during the pandemic.

“It’s a really special place," Smith said. "Everybody’s been really supportive. So, hopefully we’ll get it going as fast as we can.”

New Mexico / News / Video

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.


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