STOCKTON — Reborn from the ashes, a restaurant in Stockton opened its doors Friday after a fire closed them last year.
El Forastero Mexican Food, located at 1718 E Hammer Ln., held its grand reopening as customers lined up to welcome them back.
CBS13 first reported the fire in August 2021 after the building was nearly destroyed by an arsonist.
Stockton police previously said the fire was set by a homeless man who wanted a soda but did not want to pay for it. Investigators said, before leaving, the man used a lighter to set the building on fire.
No one was injured, but the inside of the building was destroyed. After more than a year of planning and construction, the restaurant is back open.
"To hear the story of them suffering a tragedy and to see them be able to remake it back to this, it's uplifting, especially being a part of this community," said customer Julian Balderana.
The restaurant's owner said it was their goal to build back bigger and better. They now have their register system, installed TV and added several new items to their menu.
"It's exciting to have all these people come back and bring our restaurant back to life," restaurant manager Sonia Dominguez said.
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