Bradenton Fire Marshal Kenneth Langston said it was exposed wires from an electric sign removal that caused an Oct. 1 fire that ultimately put Mexicali Border Cafe, in the 5500 block of Cortez Road, out of business for good.
No one was hurt in the October fire that occurred shortly after the restaurant installed a new roof. Shortly after the fire, the owners announced on social media they hoped to be open soon. But on Nov. 4, their Facebook page said, “To all of our guests, we appreciate all of you, however, doesn’t look like we will be reopening after all.”
The post went on to indicate the restaurant suffered more damage than insurance would cover. A Nov. 11 post stated they were having a “going out of business” sale. The owners were unable to be contacted Tuesday.
According to the initial fire report, multiple engines responded. Once on scene, fire was seen coming from the roof. Firefighters used pike poles to pull the ceiling down under the fire and the blaze was engaged from below while firefighters on the roof engaged from above. It took just under 4 minutes for the first units to arrive on scene and the fire was declared extinguished within 52 minutes.
Social media took the news that Mexicali would not reopen hard. Michele Connizzo wrote on Facebook, “Very sad to hear, too bad you will not be relocating to a different area of Bradenton.”
Faye Pearson wrote, “Very sad, will miss the wonderful people and staff as well as the amazing food.”
According to the Manatee County Property Appraiser website, the property is owned by WDC/HLP Cortez LLC, which owns the entire strip mall. The owner was unable to be contacted Tuesday.