ONE of the Costa del Sol and Spain’s most emblematic restaurants has been gutted in a mystery blaze.
Olivia’s in La Cala de Mijas, Spain, was badly damaged in the fire, which began in the early hours of Monday.
Owner Elliott Wright, a TV celebrity back home in the UK, had only recently taken on a new team for the season.
The TOWIE star, who also had his own TV show Playa in Marbella, had worked hard to get the place up and running again after a very hard winter due to the COVID virus.
Looking devastated, he told the Olive Press he had no idea why it had happened.
“I don’t have any enemies so I don’t know if it’s arson or electrical,” he said, while being comforted by friends outside.
“I’ll talk to you later when I have a better idea what happened,” he added.
He told the Olive Press only this month that he had invested 2.5 million euros in the restaurant since opening six years ago – and he was going to ‘push for a Michelin star’ this year.
He had just taken on a new executive chef Ryan Murphy from the Savoy Hotel in London, as well as a new operations manager Stefan Guicheteau, from global restaurant chain Nobu.
“We are so lucky to have the two of them. Ryan trained under Alain Ducasse and got two Michelin stars from the off in Sweden recently,” he said.
“I want to improve the service, but keep the glamour and party atmosphere, while also aim for a Michelin star. We are definitely going to push for it.”
This morning, his dream was clearly in tatters, as he surveyed the wreckage of his restaurant.
Two teams of firemen – eight in personel in all – took two hours to bring the fierce blaze under control. The fire had broken out at around 5.50am with it declared extinguised at 7.330am, although firefighters remained at the scene damping down until after 9am. The building has been totally gutted.
A water wagon from Mijas town hall was standing by.
A fireman told the Olive Press: “The whole place has been destroyed. We really don’t know why this has happened.”
It is unclear if the fire was deliberate, although there have been a spate of arsons at restaurants on the coast over recent years, many linked to gang rivalries.
Only this weekend national daily El Pais described nearby Marbella and the coast either side as the ‘centre of organised crime in Europe’.