.Michael’s on Main Closed for Repair After Fire

The beloved Soquel restaurant is known for supporting the local music scene and embracing all things Grateful Dead

An early morning fire tore through a section of the popular Soquel restaurant Michael’s on Main on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Central Fire’s Fire Marshal Mike DeMars says the flames broke out around 4:30am and caused heavy damage to several rooms and smoke damage through most of the eatery that is perched on Soquel Creek at 2591 Main St.

Michael Harrison, who has owned Michael’s on Main for the past six years, said he got a call just past 4:30am, and that when he arrived a short while later he saw flames barreling out the roof.

“We’ll rebuild—yes we will,” he said as he toured one of the dining rooms with charred debris strewn about, heavy smoke damage and broken glass. “I think it might take about a year to reopen.”

DeMars says the blaze most likely started in a prep area beside the kitchen, but added that it was still under investigation.

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Harrison said that he was fortunate that about 50 prized pieces of Grateful Dead memorabilia survived the fire, including an early poster from 1966. The restaurant is widely known for its “Grateful Sundays” which feature Dead cover bands—sometimes a member of the band’s extended family—and dancing.

Following the fire, about a dozen friends showed up later that morning to help Harrison rescue artwork and other goods from the charred building. A GoFundMe to help the venue (gofundme.com/f/help-michaels-on-main-rise-from-the-ashes) had raised nearly $10,000 as of Tuesday morning.

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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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