Goodbye Broken Spoke

Landmark Washington Avenue cafe goes up in flames: Fire burns nearby house down

Landmark Washington Avenue cafe goes up in flames: Fire burns nearby house down

Broken Spoke Fire
The Broken Spoke Cafe, that beloved Belgian outpost, went up in flames Monday. Photo by Tyler Rudick
Broken Spoke Fire
Judging from the wreckage, the blaze is suspected to have started in an adjacent timber-framed building. Photo by Tyler Rudick
Broken Spoke Fire
The cafe space, which had been close for three weeks, was seriously damaged. No injuries were reported. Photo by Tyler Rudick
Broken Spoke Fire
Broken Spoke Fire
Broken Spoke Fire

It was a sad Monday afternoon on Washington Avenue, as members of the Houston Fire Department (HFD) put out a major blaze that effectively destroyed one of the city's most noted Belgian outposts, the Broken Spoke Cafe.

The fire started around 3 p.m. at 1807 Washington in a vacant wooden home that sat directly next to the restaurant, which was almost completely gutted. A third building to the west of Broken Spoke, suffered heat and smoke damage.

"We were talking about a remodel," the owner said as he watched firefighter s secure the scene. "We were bouncing around ideas and trying to renegotiate with the building owner."

The cause of the fire remains unknown — and will until investigators can analyze the wreckage. There were no reported injuries, according to the Houston Fire Department.

The Broken Spoke closed its doors in August when Catherine Duwez — one of the two original owners — left the restaurant to open Cafe Brussels in the former Dharma Cafe space. In the meantime, co-owner Roy de la Garza was trying to map out a new plan the old Washington space.

"We were talking about a remodel," Garza told CultureMap as he watched firefighters secure the scene. "We were bouncing around ideas and trying to renegotiate with the building owner."

Ruy Lozano, a public information officer with HFD, said the old home where the blaze started was completely vacant and had no utilities.

“We were dispatched at 3:02 and had the first units arrive by 3:04,” he said. “It was an amazing turnaround.”

Unfortunately for the Broken Spoke, it was too late.

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