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The restaurant in the old town has to close due to arson

The restaurant in the old town has to close due to arson
The restaurant in the old town has to close due to arson

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – After an arson fire forced a historic Old Town restaurant to close, work is underway to reopen. “It’s so disappointing that a random act can cause so much chaos,” said Carla Villa, owner of High Noon Restaurant.

The High Noon Restaurant is still dealing with the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the electrical system. Although the main building was spared, they are still without power.


“It was expected to be short-lived, but unfortunately the reality is that we are still trying to coordinate final permits and inspections and reattachment with PNM,” Villa said.

On May 21, just before 7 a.m., police say 66-year-old Stevie Maestas was wandering aimlessly into the restaurant’s parking lot. The criminal complaint says he used a rock to break into a fenced-in area. He then pulled something out of his pocket and walked behind the fence, out of camera view, toward the back of the restaurant. Surveillance video then showed Maestas walking away from the restaurant. About a minute later, smoke began to rise.

The flames quickly spread and covered the entire screen. The owners said the damage was more than $20,000. The heat from the fire was so intense that it began to burn the plastic around the security camera before the camera lost power. The fire was contained to the outside of the original building, which was built in the 18th century. Maestas is accused of arson.

As for repairs, restaurant staff say the electrical system was replaced. The area that caught fire also contained a stack of cardboard boxes and a pile of wood that fueled the flames.

High Noon Restaurant hopes to open before the end of July, subject to city inspections. “This has not been the summer we expected. July 3 was our 50th anniversary and we were not open, which was very disappointing,” Villa said.

Villa remains confident and hopes to be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary after the opening. There is no time limit for the celebrations.