The smoke has cleared at Sassafraz, and this morning the extent of the damage was gut-wrenchingly clear. The entire top floor was obliterated, much of the roof is gone, and from what we saw on site this morning, the lower floors that sustained the least damage are also a write-off. Least visibly damaged is the atrium bar area (see photos), though large parts of the glass atrium are gone and water and smoke damage has completely destroyed the furnishings. Sadly, tables are set for lunch service and cheery holiday decorations hang from the trees amidst the broken and burnt debris.
The fire spread quickly in the kitchen area and through the wall behind the atrium’s mirrors (visible in the photo), and years of add-ons and layered renovations made the blaze particularly difficult to put out. Because of the damage to the structure, it’s not clear yet if the entire building will need to be razed. A layer of soot and a lingering stench blankets the area, including the other local businesses, many of whom are providing police with free food and drink.
Though jokes have been made about celebrities and Yorkville, the extent of the damage to this fabled haunt is shocking and much more significant than was visible yesterday in photos and news reports. Our thoughts go out to the owners and staff at Sassafraz in this particularly devastating time, and we hope that this historic corner icon will be rebuilt into its former celeb-soaked, air-kissing, see-and-be-seen glory.
Continue reading to see our exclusive photos of the extensive damage.
All photos by Marc Lostracco