Why I cried

Here’s a little glimpse for you at the aftermath of the fire at Las Velas.

This used to be the office, a pretty big room though I know you can’t really tell by the pictures due to all the, you know, blackness and soot and ashes and charred remains of things I can’t identify.

Here’s the kitchen.

Notice the new skylight!

I joke, I know, but it’s how I cope with devastating things I can’t control.

Inappropriate jokes, comfort eating, and naps.

I’m super good at coping.

I’m going to write a book called, “How to Cope: When to stop joking and start cry-eating.”

Cry-eating is a thing, right? Or what the hell have I been doing for six days?!


  1. Angry Mongo
    December 8, 2010 2:31 pm

    cannot find words to comfort… because there are none. Luckily, Ben & Jerry are very adept at it. Can’t wait for the reopen.

  2. bluzdude
    December 8, 2010 2:56 pm

    Oh dear, oh dear.

    Pictures really do convey the emotional wallop.

    I’ll pass you the Klondikes.

  3. hello haha narf
    December 8, 2010 2:57 pm

    i just wish there was something we could do to help you guys

  4. Karen S.
    December 8, 2010 3:01 pm

    oh, cry-eating. yeah, i think i may have… ummm…. HEARD of that before. just second-hand, you understand.

    seriously — how devastating. :( fire is just so merciless.

  5. Dana
    December 8, 2010 3:08 pm

    Thank God no one was inside when it started. That is absolutely devastating. I’m sending lots of good karma your way. It seems like your family really needs it this holiday season. I wish I could do more. But I can suggest a half pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream. It’s what gets me through finals :)

  6. Maggie K
    December 8, 2010 3:12 pm

    Brings back horrible memories, I remember how my TV looked melted after a fire I had….in my prayers!

  7. Magnus Patris
    December 8, 2010 3:12 pm

    Am I the only one seeing a “Phantom of the Opera” mask in the first image?

    But seriously, hang in there. It’ll get better soon. And pierogies with lots and lots of melted butter (not margarine) and onions always helps.

  8. Jaime
    December 8, 2010 3:21 pm

    The pictures took my breath away. :(

    Sending good thoughts and prayers!

    BTW – cry-eating is soooo a real thing!

  9. Cassie
    December 8, 2010 3:22 pm

    You go ahead and cry-eat until you can’t see your toes. That SUCKS.

    Those pictures made my stomach ache. I can’t even imagine…

    I’m SO GLAD no one was there. Imagine the tragedy then…

  10. Magnus Patris
    December 8, 2010 3:26 pm

    Just a thought, but when you re-open, maybe you guys can re-christen it, “El Phoenix”.

  11. bucdaddy
    December 8, 2010 3:27 pm

    Now I really wish I’d saved for you that carrot cake I ate last night. The cake part, anyway. No way I wasn’t going to eat the cream cheese frosting.

  12. melissa
    December 8, 2010 3:29 pm

    Oh wow. I’m so glad that no one was at the restaurant when this happened! I was so sorry to hear about the fire though. I hope that you are able to get the insurance stuff taken care of and start rebuilding soon!

  13. Jill
    December 8, 2010 3:35 pm

    Ginny, I wish I knew what to say other than I am so very sorry. Las Velas is (and I’m purposefully still using the present tense!) one of my favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh and a spot where I ALWAYS take out-of-towners. We Downtown residents need you! I can’t wait until you rebuild because my hubby and I will be back with a empty tummies to be filled.
    You and your husband are in my thoughts!

  14. displaced burgher
    December 8, 2010 3:39 pm

    I’ve been there Ginny. My house burned down last year. I lost pretty much everything. I have pictures that are identical to yours. I know it doesn’t seem like it now, and you feel like that smell of smoke will be stuck in your nostrils forever, but IT GETS BETTER. Especially when you have friends and family to help. Nobody was hurt, and the rest of the damage is temporary. Before you know it, Las Velas will be back. For now, remember to breathe, and take inventory. Good Luck!!

  15. YinzerInExile
    December 8, 2010 3:50 pm

    Oh my goodness. That is awful. That’s a trip to Dave & Andy’s to fill a garage freezer’s worth of suck, right there.

    All good thoughts.

  16. Lauren
    December 8, 2010 4:28 pm


    In times like these, sometimes only a stick of butter (or 3) can help.

    Continued prayers for you, your family, and Las Velas.

  17. Sara
    December 8, 2010 5:31 pm

    Ginny-To cheer you up, you need to downlaod the song “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” by Tom Lehrer. At least google the lyrics, I’m sure it will bring a smile to your face!
    Praying for you and your family, and so relived no one was injured!!

  18. Sean
    December 8, 2010 5:49 pm

    Sorry, Ginny. :(


  19. Pa-pop
    December 8, 2010 6:04 pm

    My contribution to dark humor:

    Has anyone stopped to consider the irony of a fire at a place called Las Velas which is Spanish for “the candles.”?

    It WILL get better. Brighter days are ahead. Count on it.

  20. John in the Rocks
    December 8, 2010 6:07 pm

    Holy moley. Best of luck to you and your hubby, Ginny.

  21. Jenn
    December 8, 2010 6:16 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about the fire at your restaurant. I work downtown and have been there many times, as recently as late Nov. for my birthday. I really hope you & your hubby will pull through this and are able to rebuild the restaurant. Best of luck.

  22. unsatisfied
    December 8, 2010 6:25 pm


    those are some sad pictures.

    but, just like the $6 million dollar man, it can be rebuilt.

    I do remember the PG stating that the arson squad had been involved. was this really arson? (if this has been answered elsewhere on the site, just lightly beat me up….)

  23. tim
    December 8, 2010 8:57 pm

    i understand exactly what you mean about cry-eating. Yup a word. SUCKS! God Bless you and family.

  24. Burgh Baby
    December 8, 2010 9:09 pm

    You absolutely have to make sure to get a photo of David standing beneath that “skylight” before things get cleaned up too much. It will make for one helluva a picture to hang on the wall once everything is back and better than ever.

  25. Jaynie
    December 8, 2010 11:20 pm

    Everyone needs a little cry-eating now and then!

    So sorry this happened- we’re praying for you and your family as you sort this all out.

  26. Me
    December 9, 2010 9:45 am

    Had been to Las Velas for a few wonderful lunches in recent months, and then decided to drop in post-concert on Light Up Night — WOW!! t

    There was a wait for a table, it was a pretty young crowd, packed and loud and such JOY — The waiters were harried but happy — biggest crowd ever, they said, and it was exactly what we’d have hoped for, for Ginny and her husband —

    The fire coming so soon after that triumph is just so cruel. But I saw your Dad’s comments a few days ago on another post about the fire, and he’s right. You pick up the pieces and carry on in the faith that someday those pieces will fall into place and make some sense and serve a larger purpose than is visible right now.

    Much love and respect — R

  27. JenG
    December 9, 2010 12:40 pm

    so, so sorry. You cry, and eat, and cry-eat as much as you need to. And remember that there are lots of us here in internet-land who feel like we know you personally who are wishing we could give you more than just this virtual note of support!
    Wishing you the strength you need to get through this…

  28. Julia
    December 9, 2010 1:39 pm

    I am so very sorry to hear that this happened, and the pictures say a thousand words. My boyfriend and I were at Las Velas for happy hour the Tuesday after Ti Kanavel, and David was talking to my boyfriend while the rest of us showed up. We all loved the food and the margaritas, and it is hands down our favorite Mexican restaurant in the region. Here’s hoping to a speedy rebuilding process and a grand re-opening soon.

  29. HorseShoeBend
    December 9, 2010 2:48 pm

    Ah you poor girl. I know what your going through. My parents house burned to the ground with all of our stuff when I was 18. We lost everything. But spirit, faith, good will, friends, family got us through. Of course we had a lot of help from Jack Daniels (Christmas Vacation). Looking back in those terms it was a special time if you can believe it. Las Velas will be back. If not where it is now then somewhere else even better or maybe in fact the future for you and your husband does not include a resturant. Funny how things turn out. I’d love to read your thoughts on all of this 20 years from now. I’m certain it will only be a temporary setback in your life.

  30. Deborah
    December 9, 2010 3:14 pm

    Wow. It’s incredibly brave of you to post those pictures, I hope you know that. And…it’s a devastation. As you said before – the blood, sweat and tears! Even if insurance $ compensates you adequately for the damage, well…there’s nothing that can be given for that. But…I do admire your sense of humor. It puts me in mind of a woman I knew, years ago, who had a similar sense. When their sporting-equipment store was robbed, she referred to it as “that SALE we had”. I still laugh about that…and respect that she could joke about such a tragedy. Kudos to you and David.

  31. SteelCityPride
    December 9, 2010 5:41 pm

    When I do it I call it “Chain-snacking”.

  32. lisa
    December 9, 2010 6:17 pm

    How absolutely awful. I am so sorry.

  33. Vivian formerly NY Luvs Pitts
    December 9, 2010 10:46 pm

    So sorry :( Here’s a virtual hug for you (((Ginny)))

  34. oddmanout
    December 10, 2010 2:53 am

    Cannot wait till you re-open better than ever! Me and my wife and friends will be there!

  35. red pen mama
    December 10, 2010 10:12 am

    Oh no! Ginny, I am so sorry to read about this! I know how much love went into Las Velas (and those fabulous margaritas). I’m glad no one was hurt, and I know you and David will come back stronger than ever. Thoughts are with you.

  36. Tina
    December 12, 2010 8:33 pm

    I am sorry to hear about what happened to your restaurant. I heard you let the paleoartist have their dinner at your restaurant when SVP was in town in October. I hope you get the restaurant open soon.

  37. Donna B
    December 15, 2010 4:13 am

    I heard about the fire through the grapevine. Yikes! My friends and I experienced Las Velas hospitality back in October when you were kind enough (and brave enough!)to host a party for Society of Vertebrate Paleontology members. My belated thanks, as well as sincere condolences. I hope the place is back up and running before too long.