Until yesterday afternoon, The Broken Spoke Cafe was the tidy little bistro seen above. This morning, the restaurant sits shuttered after sustaining heavy fire and smoke damage when the abandoned duplex next door caught fire around 3 p.m. Although the Houston Fire Department does not yet know the cause of the blaze, HFD mentioned in a press release yesterday afternoon: "There were 'downed' power lines at the scene..."
The cafe was most recently owned by Roy de la Garza, principal at Milby High School, and Catherine Duwez. After splitting from her husband in late 2008 and closing their beloved Belgian restaurant, Cafe Montrose, Duwez started anew with de la Garza and relaunched The Broken Spoke Cafe as a casual Belgian joint in 2009.
Duwez and de la Garza split earlier this year, when Duwez left to start her own Belgian restaurant -- Cafe Brussels -- in the old Dharma Cafe location. After news of the split was announced, de la Garza posted on The Broken Spoke Cafe's Facebook wall: "Sadly, here I sit about to eat the last meal I will eat in this building still known as the Broken Spoke Cafe."
This is what The Broken Spoke Cafe looked like this morning:
On his personal Facebook page, people left condolences to de la Garza. Wrote one family member:
hey uncle roy. i am so sorry tohear about the horrible news about the broken spoke. i know you put a lot of yourself into that building and it is very sad to read about the fire today!!
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De la Garza contacted the Houston Press to say that he'd have a statement prepared later today. This post will be updated with more information as we receive it.
More photos from the aftermath on the following page.