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Café Renata windows were boarded up after the café caught fire last Thursday.

Credit: Tiffany Pham

When a local business struggles, the West Philadelphia community backs it up.

Cafe Renata, an eatery located at 4305 Locust St., caught fire last Thursday. The fire started at 1 a.m. when kitchen towels left out after being removed from the dryer allegedly ignited when heat left in them combined with static electricity, general manager Kate Speenstra said.

“The cafe was popular among the neighborhood and among students,” she said of the restaurant, known for its Mediterranean and American brunches. A resident living above the cafe was hospitalized, according to the Facebook event “Cafe Renata Tap Takeover Fundraiser.” The event was created by other local businesses to fundraise for Cafe Renata’s renovations.

Local business owners, such as Ross Scofield, were upset by the news of the fire and wanted to do something about it. Scofield owns two restaurants near Cafe Renata, Rx The Farmacy and The Barn on Baltimore. When he heard about the fire, he took advantage of his business platform and organized a fundraising event to give back. “You have to know that as a business, sometimes the community needs you, and sometimes you need to give back,” Scofield said.

The Cafe Renata Tap Takeover Fundraiser will be held at The Barn on Baltimore on 4901 Catharine Street, this Thursday March 19 starting at 5:30 p.m. There will be a $10 cover fee at the door, which includes one free beer. Wyndridge Farms will be running all four of the Barn’s taps serving $3 drafts. All proceeds will be donated to Cafe Renata.

“The reason why we are doing this is strictly because they are a local business,” Scofield said, with hopes that if something happened to either of his restaurants or himself, the community would support him as well.

Speenstra said she is not sure if and when the Cafe will reopen, but reopening is the goal. “If we could reopen tomorrow, we would,” she said, “but we’re hoping to rebuild as soon as possible.”

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