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Employee, customers react after fire closes popular Carytown restaurant

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens of employees of a popular Mexican restaurant in Carytown are temporarily out of a job.

Crews responded to a call for a fire at Don’t Look Back on the 2900 block of West Cary Street at 5:45 Saturday morning. Firefighters arrived to find flames coming from the rear on the first and second floors of the business.

"I've seen pictures and the kitchen’s pretty messed up," bartender Amanda Davis said. "It’s pretty bad. A lot of the structural work is damaged, so it’s going to take a bit of time to get on our feet."

Saturday afternoon customers spotted an orange "condemened" sign that was taped to the front door next to a "Closed until further notice" sign posted on the window.

"I'm devastated," customer Madison Stringfellow said. "I really like that place. There's a really cool place in the back and they have the best carnitas I've ever had in my life."

The owners of Don't Look Back also own the Eleven Months restaurant a few doors down. Eleven Months celebrated their homecoming party just hours before the fire.

"You have to think there’s 30 to 40 people out of jobs," Davis said. "We are close knit family and I don’t know what I'm going to do since I eat there pretty much everyday."

Some employees will be allowed to continue working there while they cleanup.

That fire was marked under control at 6:27 a.m. It was one of two fires that Richmond crews battled Saturday morning.

Davis said the landowners live above Don't Look Back and their home was damaged in the fire as well. Red Cross was notified to assist an adult male and female who were displaced.

Amanda Davis

Even after the fire, the employees of both restaurants planned to gather in Davis' backyard to celebrate the Fourth of July.

"We decided on July 4 we are going to have a big party and celebrate and take the stress of being closed," Davis said.

The owners said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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