Restaurant owner hails brave staff after fire forces customers to flee
A restaurant owner has vowed to be back in business within weeks after a blaze forced diners to flee the burning building.
People wept as they watched the fire take hold at the Nautilus restaurant in Malahide on Thursday night.
Customers left meals half-eaten or untouched as staff evacuated the premises.
"It's a disaster for all the First Communion families who booked with us this weekend and all the other parties that were planned," said Mary Higgins (59), who owns the Nautilus with her husband, Tony.
"But the staff behaved just brilliantly when the fire broke out."
Five fire crews, a turntable ladder truck and a command vehicle were dispatched by Dublin Fire Brigade when an emergency call was received at around 8.30pm from the restaurant at the Marine Court Centre.
"We're one of the busiest restaurants in Malahide and it was two-thirds full when the fire began," said Mrs Higgins. "It broke out in the kitchen in a canopy over a cooker.
"The staff were fantastic. They got the people out safely and calmly. They had received training in case of such events.
"My son, Alan, is the executive chef. He used all the extinguishers, but he quickly realised the danger.
"There are tables in the restaurant today with food half-eaten and with bottles of wine on them.
"Diners had to leave immediately. The fire brigade were fantastic."
The Nautilus was previously named Ciao. The Higgins family also own The Greedy Goose and Provence restaurants, both in Malahide.
Five of the couple's six children work in the family businesses.
Four of them are chefs and another does the accounts.