Café Renata owners: “We will be back!”; fundraiser at The Bar(n)

Posted on 16 March 2015 by


Cafe Renata owners, Yasser Aiq and Kate Steenstra, at the cafe (archive photo, West Philly Local).

As many of you know, an overnight fire destroyed Café Renata at 43rd and Locust and injured a neighbor last Thursday. Café Renata co-owners, Kate Steenstra and Yasser Aiq, are safe, but heartbroken over the fire and are still assessing the damage. A lot of support has poured in to them from the community members, which Katie and Yasser are very grateful for.

“Our neighbors and friends have been so supportive of us during all of this and we are so grateful for their encouragement and hugs. We are lucky to be part of such a loving community,” Katie wrote in an email.

While it is still unknown when the popular Spruce Hill coffee and brunch shop will reopen here’s some encouraging news from Katie:

“After taking a few days of reflection Yasser and I would like to tell our friends and customers that we are so encouraged by their support and love the past few days. Without them, Renata would never have been the vibrant café it was. We are looking forward to your continued support during our rebuilding efforts. We will be back!”

If you would like to support Katie and Yasser, visit Cafe Renata’s Facebook page and leave a message. We’re also sharing information about a fundraiser for Café Renata this Thursday, March 19, at The Bar(n) (49th and Catharine) in Cedar Park. The Barn and Wyndridge Farms are teaming up for the Café Renata Tap Takeover Fundraiser where Wyndridge Farms brew will be hooked up to all four of The Barn’s taps. Admission fee is $10 at the door, but guests will get their first brew for free. All drafts will be $3. All of the door and draft proceeds will go to the owners of Café Renata. The event will take place from 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. Check The Barn’s Facebook page for updates.

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Woman hospitalized after early morning fire at Café Renata

Posted on 12 March 2015 by Mike Lyons


Fire officials are investigating the cause of a fire that broke out early Thursday morning at Café Renata (4305 Locust St.), sending one woman to the hospital.

The woman, who has not been identified, lived in an apartment above the café and suffered from smoke inhalation. She was listed in stable condition this morning. Café Renata was heavily damaged in the fire, which firefighters brought under control after about 30 minutes. The U Do We Do Laundromat next door to Café Renata also suffered some damage but was open this morning.

Café Renata co-owners Kate Steenstra and Yasser Aiq rent the space for their restaurant. It was not clear this morning when it might reopen.

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Fire on S. St. Bernard St near Kingsessing (updated)

Posted on 08 March 2015 by

UPDATE (9:45 p.m.): According to latest reports, three houses on S. St. Bernard Street were affected by tonight’s fire. Two of them were unoccupied. Red Cross is assisting two adult residents of the third house damaged by the fire.

A large fire broke out on S. St. Bernard Street near Kingsessing on Sunday evening, around 6 p.m. At least four houses were affected, according to reports. Multiple fire trucks arrived at the scene, and the fire was put out about 20-25 minutes later. No injuries were reported. No more details are available at this time.


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Demolition of ice-covered building at 52nd and Locust begins

Posted on 24 February 2015 by


Photo by George Bantel (

Demolition of the Locust Medical Center Building on the corner of 52nd and Locust has begun. The building became some sort of a local attraction after it was heavily damaged by a fire and extreme ice build-up during the extinguishing process last week. The Department of Licenses and Inspections ordered the demolition because of the structural damage caused by the fire and the weight of the ice (inside and outside).


The Locust Medical Center building before demolition. (Photos by Lady Merlin)



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Ice covered building at 52nd and Locust to be demolished

Posted on 19 February 2015 by

frozen buildingThe three-story Locust Medical Center building at 52nd and Locust, which is covered with a thick layer of ice after an early Monday morning fire that was put out in freezing temperatures, is going to be demolished, according to reports. The authorities announced on Tuesday that the building may collapse at any moment, and the streets around the building have been closed all week. It is not yet know when the demolition will start.

The Fire Marshal is expected to release information on the cause of the fire soon.


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Fears that frozen building at 52nd and Locust may collapse

Posted on 17 February 2015 by Mike Lyons

frozen building

People gathered to take pictures throughout the day on Tuesday of the building burned in a fire early Monday morning at 52nd and Locust. Fearing that the building may collapse, police closed nearby streets.

Streets around the burned out building at 52nd and Locust have been closed out of fear that the building, which is sheathed in a thick layer of ice, may collapse.

Police have blocked 52nd Street between Spruce and Walnut, Locust Street near the building and some smaller side streets. The building has become somewhat of a local attraction with people filing by on the closed streets to take photos of structure and television news crews posting nearby on Tuesday.

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