Bye-Bye, Mai's

...and thanks for all the 2 a.m. pho.

The popular Vietnamese restaurant, which had been a staple of Midtown dining since 1978, has been mostly destroyed by a fire that started in the rear of the second floor of the building at 3403 Milam early this morning.

Although firefighters and at least six ladder trucks battled the blaze throughout the morning, the flames were difficult to control and by noon, the roof had collapsed. The Houston Fire Department created a 20-foot perimeter around the building, concerned that the walls would follow suit, but Mai's seems to have been spared that indignity for now.

Although the structural damage is immense, the good news is that no one was injured in the blaze. A busboy for the restaurant told our news blog, Hair Balls, that as soon as the fire started, everyone evacuated.

We posted pictures and video from the scene on the news blog throughout the morning as concerned commenters began leaving their condolences for the family that runs Mai's and sharing their own stories from the restaurant's 30-year history.

We want to know: What made Mai's special to you? What memories do you have of late-night dining, urban legends that surrounded the restaurant's second story or of your very first bowl of pho?

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