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Fire-damaged Market Square restaurant NOLA to reopen in July

| Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 11:15 p.m.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Renovations continue at NOLA on the Square on Tuesday June 10, 2014, as the restaurant prepares for it's re-opening in the first week of July. The restaurant closed after a fire in late February.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Renovations continue at NOLA on the Square on Tuesday June 10, 2014, as the restaurant prepares for it's re-opening in the first week of July. The restaurant closed after a fire in late February.

The popular Market Square restaurant NOLA on the Square, damaged by fire more than four months ago, is scheduled to reopen sometime in early July.

“Everything is full speed ahead now,” said Nick Nicholas, who owns the buildings housing NOLA and a Bruegger's bakery-cafe next door. “There are no issues remaining, other than getting it finished and reopened.”

Yves Carreau, owner of NOLA through the Big Y Group, said the fire started in ductwork above a pizza oven. Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones said the official cause was a build-up of creosote in the ductwork, which he said was improperly installed. Creosote build-up happens a lot in wood-burning ovens, he said.

Jones said the city Bureau of Building Inspection is investigating who is at fault.

Quality Mechanicals of Verona installed the ductwork, Carreau has said.

Nick Birkos, vice president of Quality Mechanicals, said the company worked on heating and air conditioning in the restaurant. It received a fax from NOLA's insurance company in February saying the fire and the company's work were under investigation, Birkos said.

“Other than that, we haven't seen any paperwork, document, insurance, nothing,” he said.

Insurance companies likely will go to court to determine who pays for the damage, Carreau said, adding that by the time crews complete renovation work, the claim will be about $1 million. That includes the cost of maintaining the business during the interruption, he said.

“Whatever we've lost, in terms of business, the insurance is making up for,” Carreau said. “We're coming out whole.”

Smoke caused most of the damage, requiring all surfaces in the restaurant to be treated or replaced.

But for fans of the New Orleans-themed restaurant, which opened in March 2011, Carreau said nothing is changing.

“The restaurant is going to be identical,” he said.

Ben Kohser, president of PBI Construction in Gibsonia, which installed the oven, said the company's insurer concluded it was not at fault. PBI is awaiting the result of an investigation from NOLA's insurance company, he said.

Kohser and Carreau declined to give the names of their insurance companies.

Megan Henney is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7987 or mhenney@tribweb.com.

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