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Fox Chapel

Spice Affair in Aspinwall preparing to reopen after June fire

Tawnya Panizzi
| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, 1:30 p.m.
Barinder Singh finishes final touch on paint along the new open wall to prepare for the reopening of the Spice Affair in Aspinwall.
Jan Pakler | For the Tribune-Review
Barinder Singh finishes final touch on paint along the new open wall to prepare for the reopening of the Spice Affair in Aspinwall.
Opinder Singh gets ready for the reopening of Spice Affair since fire in June in Aspinwall.
Jan Pakler | For the Tribune-Review
Opinder Singh gets ready for the reopening of Spice Affair since fire in June in Aspinwall.
Over a dozen diners were evacuated on Saturday afternoon at the Spice Affair Restaurant when black smoke filled the dining room.
Jan Pakler | For the Tribune Review
Over a dozen diners were evacuated on Saturday afternoon at the Spice Affair Restaurant when black smoke filled the dining room.

Spice Affair, the Indian restaurant at the Brilliant and Loop intersection in Aspinwall, is expected to reopen Dec. 7, six months after fire swept through the basement.

“We’re excited that people are so eager for us to return,” said Opinder Singh, co-owner of the restaurant that sustained significant damage in the June 2 fire.

Renovation costs are expected to top $250,000. The job required a massive reworking of the electrical system, as well as a fresh coat of paint and new flooring, co-owner Harpreet Pabla said.

“There was a lot of smoke and water damage but looking around, I expected us to reopen by the end of June,” said Pabla, a resident of Indiana Township.

“Obviously, we’re not fire experts, but we never expected it to take this long.”

Restaurant employees are credited for thwarting a disaster by noticing smoke seeping through trap doors near the bar.

Aspinwall Fire Chief Gene Marsico said his crew discovered a basement fire that had been smoldering for hours.

“If that would’ve happened in the middle of the night, it would have been a whole other story,” Marsico said.

Pabla, a 1999 graduate of Fox Chapel Area School District, said he was committed to returning to the corner space in Aspinwall despite the months of work.

“I had been looking at this spot since 1995 when I lived on First Street,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of community support. It’s hard to walk away.”

Barinder Singh, co-owner, dispelled rumors circulating online that there will be new chefs in the kitchen. He said they will be back with the same staff, all 10 of whom were paid for six months during renovations in order to retain their services.

“They have a specialized skill,” he said. “We wanted to come back with those same people.”

Keen-eyed diners will notice interior work to reconfigure the main room. Singh said construction crews cut three large spaces into a divider wall in order to open the space. Otherwise, people will enjoy the same daily buffet with more than 40 items, including the specialty coconut curry moilee.

Hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

The restaurant is at 8 Brilliant Ave.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tawnyatrib.

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