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September 28, 2022

Michael’s on Main destroyed by fire

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

Fire Marshal Mike DeMars of Central Fire said the flames broke out around 4:30am and caused heavy damage to part of the restaurant, including a prep area and an office 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 said the cause of the blaze most likely started in a prep area beside the kitchen but added that it was still under investigation.

“There was some very serious damage, especially where the fire went up through the roof,” DeMars said.

Harrison added that he was fortunate that about 50 prized pieces of Grateful Dead memorabilia survived the fire. The collection included the first Dead poster from 1966. For years, the restaurant has featured “Grateful Sundays” that stages Dead cover bands 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.

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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