Fire over the weekend that scorched a popular northeast Minneapolis restaurant while diners were inside started in the chimney area above the brick oven and does not appear to be suspicious, fire officials said Monday.

Young Joni, located on 13th Avenue and across the parking lot from the fire station, caught fire about 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the attic area, said Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner.

The flames spread to the roof, leaving behind damage severe enough to force the restaurant to close, its operators said in a Facebook post.

A followup posting from Young Joni described the damage as "relatively minimal" and expressed hope that diners will be welcomed back later this week.

All guests and staff got out of the restaurant without injury, Tyner said.

The fire started in the brick pizza oven's chimney piping assembly, the assistant chief said, adding that "the cause is accidental."

The Star Tribune named Young Joni its restaurant of the year in 2017, describing it as a true original that combines chef Ann Kim's Korean background with a fascination for hearth cooking. In addition to its pizzas, Young Joni is known for its speakeasy-like bar and cocktail lineup.

Kim, who also started Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza, plans to open a Mexican restaurant this year in the former Lucia's space in Uptown with partner Conrad Leifur.

Paul Walsh