RARITAN BOROUGH — The owner of a longtime restaurant vows to reopen after a grill fire forced a temporary closure.

Flames broke out Tuesday afternoon at the restaurant on Second Avenue around 3:20 p.m., as his staff was preparing for dinner, owner Nick Zamora told MyCentralJersey.com. No customers were present at the time.

For now Espo's is closed but Zamora said that repairs on the wall of the kitchen will not take weeks. He told MyCentralJersey.com that a renovation three years ago when he bought the restaurant will help speed repairs because he knows how to approach doing work on the building.

"To all of our family, friends, and loyal customers. Your texts, calls, posts and messages mean the world to us!! We will see you SOON!!!!," Zamora wrote on the restaurant's Facebook page.

Zamora told New Jersey 101.5's Steve Trevelise in January that the 2019 renovation brought back the original essence of the restaurant with the same placemats, Tiffany lights and rotating Budweiser light.

Chef Phil makes the same sauces and dishes he's been making for nearly 50 years and is a connection between the restaurant's past and present.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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Among reasons why the “Garden State” remains a fitting nickname for New Jersey — late summer means the arrival of sunflower season.

There are at least six fields, spanning the state. Some are in bloom as of early August, while others are planned to peak from late August to late September.

Calling or emailing before heading out is always advisable if weather appears to be an issue. 

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