Two Virginia Beach family-owned restaurants assessing damage after fire, overwhelmed by community support

Rigoletto's interior fire
Posted at 11:19 AM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-12 15:19:14-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Virginia Beach family is picking up the pieces after their restaurant and bakery, which has been in the Red Mill area for 17 years, caught fire.

UPDATE: 18-year-old family-owned Italian café in Virginia Beach reopens after fire

It happened Sunday morning when the restaurant was closed. No one was injured, and the Virginia Beach Fire Department is investigating to find out what caused the fire.

Rigoletto’s is located at 2181 Upton Drive in the Red Mill Commons shopping center. Neighboring Blue Seafood and Spirits as well as Messman Law also suffered smoke damage.

Signs are currently on the doors of both Rigoletto’s and Blue Seafood letting customers know they are temporarily closed. On social media, the owners of Blue Seafood said it appears they may be closed for a few weeks but might be able to serve takeout.

The owners of Rigoletto’s tell News 3 they just celebrated 17 years in business and pride themselves on being a successful neighborhood bakery. Jessie Guzman said the support they’ve already received is giving them the strength to clean up and get back to serving Italian favorites.

"I want to thank everybody," said Guzman, whose family owns Rigoletto's. "The support and encouragement and kind words, it’s definitely what we needed to hear at this time. We’ll be back. We don’t know when, but we will."

Gilda DiDomenico is a pastry chef originally from Italy. She said she's appreciative of all the community support.

"I never thought a fire would take down this bakery. I thought it would be here forever. This is just heartbreaking."

Insurance adjusters were at the restaurant on the scene on Tuesday. A GoFundMe has been set up for Rigoletto's. Click here for that link.