Fire at local restaurant intentional

Kristen Traynor

Mangiamo restaurant on Route 43 was destroyed by fire during the morning of May 27. New revelations lead the authorities to believe that arson was cause of the blaze. James Mellyn | Summer Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Arson was the cause of the fire that broke out in May at Mangiamo, the Italian restaurant on state Route 43, Kent fire chief James Williams said.

“The only thing we’re releasing now is that it was an intentionally set fire,” Williams said.

He said anyone with information about the incident should contact the Kent Fire Department or the Portage County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office will handle the investigation from this point on.

Mike Beder, a co-owner of Mangiamo, said he was surprised and concerned when he heard the results of the investigation because he doesn’t know who started the fire or why.

As for the building, Beder said the owners are waiting to speak to the insurance company to find out their options for rebuilding or leveling the structure. He said the insurance company will probably give them a price for each option.

“We haven’t made any decisions yet,” Beder said. “But we’d probably like to rebuild if the price to rebuild makes sense.”

Initially, Williams said an estimated $387,000 worth of damage was done to the restaurant but that this amount could change as the investigation continued.

“My guess is it’s going to go up significantly,” Williams said in early June.

The fire broke out just before 5 a.m. May 26, and no one was in the building at the time.

Gift cards, parties, and reservations are being accommodated at the owners’ other restaurants. Gift cards are accepted at the Bistro on Main, and some parties have been moved to the Water Street Tavern.

As for staff, some of them have been absorbed by the owners’ other restaurants, and the owners have helped others to find jobs while they weigh their options.

“It’s a long process,” Beder said.

He said customers should check the restaurant’s Web site,, for updates on future plans.

Contact principal reporter Kristen Traynor at [email protected].