Will Sagres Restaurant be rebuilt? Owners say it could be
Herald News Photo | Dave Souza
What was once the Sagres Restaurant and a multifamily house at 177 Columbia St. has been reduced to rubble after a fire at the location on July 6.
As the DaSilva family struggles to decide the fate of their restaurant, Sagres, one friend is persistently urging them to continue: Fall River.
“I’ve gotten a lot of calls,” said Victor DaSilva, the dining room manager and son of Sagres' founder, Antonio DaSilva. “There has been an overwhelming feeling of people reaching out to support us.
“We would really love to rebuild.”
Sagres Restaurant, 177 Columbia St., is gone, the building that housed it reduced to a pile of broken boards.
The building was extensively damaged during a fire on July 6 that started in a second-floor apartment. The third and fourth floors were gutted. Water and smoke poured down to the floors below, including the restaurant.
The DaSilva family has architectural plans in hand and will decide in the next week if they will rebuild, Victor DaSilva said.
“We would like to rebuild a two-story building,” he said. “The restaurant will be slightly smaller. On the second floor, we would have a function room.
“We haven’t decided, 100 percent, if we will rebuild. We would like to rebuild, but it would be a big investment.
“We will make the decision once we find out if everything has been approved and we get a cost on the building.”
The DaSilva family founded Sagres 38 years ago, when Antonio DaSilva, a celebrated chef in Lisbon, came to Fall River to open the city’s first Portuguese restaurant.
The restaurant was housed on the first floor of a block-long apartment building on Columbia Street that also held eight apartments.
That building is now gone.
Workers with Cleanway Disposal and Recycling of Westport pulled the top two floors of the building apart by hand. They completed the demolition of the building this week and will spend another week clearing the site, company owner John Aguiar said.
By then, Victor DaSilva said, a decision should be reached on a new restaurant.
“The building came down, completely, today,” he said on Wednesday. “It looks like a huge piece is missing from Columbia Street. The street looks empty to me.
“A lot of people have called to offer us encouragement. Every day I’ve gotten calls. Every day since July.
“It makes us all happy, knowing people care.”
The family has also been surprised by their dealings with the city. Sagres will present its request to the Zoning Board of Appeals on Oct. 17 for permission to rebuild on the site.
“The city has been very helpful,” DaSilva said. “The mayor and Joe Bizko (city building inspector) and the planning department. We haven’t met one person who hasn’t been helpful.”