Bump in the Road

I’m shocked and dismayed to report that Calvin’s Cheesesteaks on The Alameda had a fire last week and is now closed with “significant fire, smoke, and water damage.” The fire was caused by a problem in an ice machine on July 11. The restaurant was not open at the time and there were no injuries.

Distressingly the Mercury News reports that the traumatic stress of the fire caused the owner, Jonne Aleeson, to be briefly hospitalized. I have no updates but I trust he is recovering swiftly.

You’ll recall my wife and I were last at Calvin’s on the Fourth of July. We hadn’t heard about the fire but on July 17 we happened to drive by and noticed some of Calvin’s things out on the sidewalk but thought nothing of it. Oddly enough on July 19 my wife took some co-workers there for lunch and that’s when she learned of the fire. I say “oddly enough” because that’s the day the Mercury News published its story.

As it so happens Calvin’s had been working on opening a second location nearby at 1699 San Carlos. Work continues on that and it should be completed soon. The Alameda location will re-open pending insurance and repairs. It could take a month or longer. San Carlos is a fine road, but it’s no El Camino Real.

Readers of this blog will surely know that we love Calvin’s. The sandwiches are second-to-none, but what makes the place so very special to us is Mr. Aleeson. We’ve been privileged to spend some time with him in his restaurant and get to know him and watch him interact with the community. He’s a remarkable guy, warm and generous. He’s also tough—not with people, but with life. Even before this fire he has endured challenges and trials that should not be asked of anyone, but his faith in God and the love of his family and friends have brought him through. In heartfelt moments he openly shares how Blessed he considers himself to be, and listening to him teaches me what Blessed truly means.

This fire is really unfortunate, but we can be thankful it wasn’t worse than it was. Plaster and wood can be replaced and I look forward to that happening as soon as possible. My prayers are for “Mr. Calvin” (as I call him) to recover his health and once again find the strength to carry on. We miss him, The Alameda needs him, and I envision a spectacular Grand Re-Opening where we can can all show him how much we love and appreciate him.


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