The owners of the Blackbird Cafe have accused former neighbor Heidi's Restaurant of negligence in a fire that uprooted both popular south Minneapolis restaurants in February 2010, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
Attorneys for Blackbird, in a suit filed Monday, are seeking more than $383,000 from Heidi's to cover the cost of damages to the property, which included the loss of the restaurant. The suit contends that the negligence stems from a faulty fire-suppression system in Heidi's.
The adjoining restaurants were located at the intersection of W. 50th Street and Bryant Avenue S.
Fire officials said the Feb. 18 blaze began as a grease fire and spread into the ceiling and to other businesses in the building. A fire-suppression unit above the stove at Heidi's went off as designed, but it was too late to stop the spread of the flames, officials said.
The fire also destroyed two popular gift shops and a jewelry design store.
In the complaint, Blackbird attorney Brian Johnson accused Heidi's of installing its kitchen range without ensuring that it fit the fire-suppression system and of failing to inspect and test its system. He said warnings by a hood and ductwork cleaning service about a hole that needed repairs were not followed.
Heidi's Restaurant attorney Sandra Grove declined to comment.
Blackbird Cafe has since been reopened at 3800 Nicollet Av. in Minneapolis. Heidi's was reopened at 2903 Lyndale Av. S.
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921