Carson City’s Cafe at Adele’s will not reopen after March fire
For Charlie and Karen Abowd
With the closing of Cafe at Adele’s, Carson City and its community will witness the end of an era.
This decision by owners chef Charlie and Karen Abowd, comes in the wake of a fire that occurred March 28, and the subsequent inability to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company that would cover reconstruction costs.
“Over many months we were hopeful we would reach a viable conclusion that would allow us to re-open this restaurant, which has been such a center of so many people’s lives and their important moments as well as in Nevada politics,” Karen said. “Charlie and I are not confident in the options offered to us by our insurance carrier, which put us very far apart monetarily in what we know is needed to restore the building, and we must mitigate our loss.”
The couple, who in 1995 took over the restaurant (an 1864 Comstock Mansart Victorian, named for French architect Francois Mansart’s design style) from Charlie’s parents chef Paul and Adele Abowd, have decided not to re-open.
Beyond that, the couple hasn’t made any further decisions regarding the property.
They had hoped to transfer title in a way that would continue the restaurant under new ownership, the point of having formally put the property on the market in spring 2018. Of course, the fire made that impossible.
“We were planning to retire, not for a fire, and things don’t pencil,” Karen said. “We have made this decision with heavy hearts, knowing what Adele’s has meant to the community and to our family, but at 68 years old, we cannot and will not go into debt to re-open.”
It was determined the fire began in the restaurant’s laundry area, smoldering hours before igniting. As a result the actual fire damage was fairly limited, but the smoke damage so extensive that near complete reconstruction would be required in order to make the structure viable.
“We had the good fortune to have such a quick response from our fire and sheriff departments and through this journey of trying to come to a fair and reasonable conclusion to our fire claim to work with wonderful and ethical people at Miles Construction, who committed with us to come to a comprehensive scope of work that includes health and environmental concerns,” Karen said. “This is not the outcome we sought, but it is the outcome we will see through.”
During its more than 42-year history, Cafe at Adele’s served as the gathering place for Nevada politicians of all stripes. It was there myriad families celebrated important milestones, across generations. It was there the community turned out to support fundraising events for area non-profits including the SPCA, Friends in Service Helping (FISH), Ron Wood Resource Center/Toys for Tots toy collection via Cookies with Santa, Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada,The Greenhouse Project and too many more to name.
“All of these causes are near and dear to our hearts,” Karen said, adding they are also proud of spearheading the local food movement working with local ranchers and farmers, including 4-H and FFA students, in raising awareness of the importance of the farm to table movement and of supporting local growers.
“You know, Charlie has long said he looked forward to a time when he would cook for those who needed him to, rather than for those who wanted him to, and I suppose we’re now there,” Karen said. “We are firm in our commitment to community and aren’t going anywhere.
“It is time, however, for us to look at life differently.”