MALIBU—The Woolsey Fire, which ignited on November 8, 2018, and burned 96,949 acres of land, killed three people, prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 people, and destroyed 1,643 buildings, could be responsible for some of Malibu’s local restaurants to close their doors.
While many restaurant buildings were not affected by the fire, the blaze caused a sharp drop in business for restaurants like “D’Amore’s Pizza,” “Coral Beach Cantina” and “Zooma Sushi.” All three businesses are concerned they will not survive and may permanently close their doors.
Boston-born business owner, Joe D’Amore served firefighters, law enforcement officers, and first responders for free as the deadly wildfire raged near his restaurant. Due to the decline in customers, D’Amore doubts he can keep his pizza ovens hot for much longer.
His pizzeria is not the only business in Malibu struggling seven months after the fire. The owner of Coral Beach Cantina and Zooma Sushi, Peter Soli, wrote a letter to customers informing them they are “being forced out of business,” after 37 years in Malibu.
Restaurant patron George Scott invited locals and others to sign a petition addressed to the propriety landlord for leniency in rent payment, at least until business recovers. “All the locals love these restaurants and it would be a shame to see them close. So many other small businesses have closed in Malibu and we would hate to see it happen to all the employees at the restaurants,” Scott wrote.
Soli shares stories of his devoted staff who have commuted from Central LA each day on public transportation for the past 37 years. A total of 35 of the restaurants’ employees, with some of them over the age of 55, and with no other work experience, could face unemployment.
The petition has reached over 1,500 signatures and is seeking to obtain leniency on part of the landlord, so the business can stay open. A local customer expressed her grief on the petition page, “The fires have already been so hard on our community. Why take something else from us?”