That Fire at Mai’s Restaurant

Midtown late-night staple Mai’s, which has been claiming since 1978 to be Houston’s first Vietnamese restaurant, burst into flames sometime after 10 o’clock this morning, according to an astounding number of Twitter reports — and the Houston Press‘s Craig Hlavaty:

The damage seems most severe on the second floor of the place, which for years has been the subject of various theories about what exactly happens up there. The restaurant itself, on the ground floor, seems in better shape, but smoke and water damage will still be significant.

A portion of the roof has collapsed already. Another view, from across the street:


Photos of Mai’s, 3403 Milam St.: Kam Franklin (top) and Craig Hlavaty (bottom)

18 Comment

  • Well, here’s hoping they turn around and rebuild. I was a big fan of the restaurant.


  • Yeah, I have lots of friends who really like that place. Especially the late hours. New slogan: Mai’s: the Vietnamese Brennan’s!

  • I can take it or leave it. The staff was always rude and the aggressive/uppity bum that used to hang around there would rather have taken my leftovers than my pocket change.

  • TheNiche always has a positive, sensitive spin. That’s what I like about him. :)

    Here’s hoping their insurance gets them up and running quickly.

  • Well.. that’s a shame.. I hope the fish are okay..

  • I’m with Bill- hoping the best for those fish.
    Whatever it was going on upstairs, it was Smoking Hot……..

  • Sad, I hope they rebuild and their employees find work, Van Loc is comparable and quicker/cheaper but my new favorite for Vietnamese is Huynh on St. Emanuel, certainly worth a try.

  • I was heading to lunch at RAKU (no power due to fire) and instead settled for watching the fire department in action. The building is severely damaged, with the entire roof collapsed in on itself. The fire department was pouring a huge amount of water into the structure which was only slowing down the fire, as the hot spots kept flaring up whenever they would move the hoses. The building was a wood structure with load-bearing masonry walls. The FD captain that I talked to outside thought that the building was a total loss, however I did not see evidence of bulging masonry or a collapsing parapet, which is usually one of the deciding factors. The FD will do an assessment of the structure to see if it is at risk for collapse and will demolish the building if they think it is a public safety hazard. I always liked Mai’s and it was heartbreaking to see the owner’s tears and the deflated employees outside today. I hope they can rebuild.

  • Do they own the site?

  • Let’s hope they had insurance.

  • Mai Mai Mai…what a shame.

    PLEASE rebuild!!! Without a monthly cheap Vietnamese food fix, I will diminish, and fade into the east.

  • It was one of my favorite restaurant in town. The onwer says she will re-built which I am happy about. But in the mean time, can Van Loc nearby turn into 24-hours place please?

  • The first fire truck was dispatched about 10:33 AM, and I watched it burn until around 2 PM. I’d be surprised if they didn’t demo the building.

  • I’m addicted to their grilled chicken spring rolls and I’m already experiencing withdrawal symptons.

  • oops – symptoms

  • #44 was my favorite!

  • This is an opportunity for Van Loc to step up their game. They used to be pretty good but have gotten sloppy over the years and the place is filthy. Get with the program Van Loc!