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Beloved Thiensville restaurant goes up in flames

Posted at 12:43 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 08:31:47-05

THIENSVILLE — A beloved Thiensville restaurant suffered devastating damage after a fire, Sunday afternoon.

No one was hurt, but The Cheel, a Nepalese restaurant in downtown Thiensville, faces an untold amount of damage.

“We want to close this year,” Deb Martin of Thiensville said. “We’re done now. We’re done.”

Martin and her friend Kathy Sager were on a morning walk Monday. After hearing what happened to their favorite restaurant, they almost couldn’t bear to see it.

“How could it be the Cheel?” Sager said. “That’s a staple of Thiensville. They have poured their heart and soul into Thiensville.”

The restaurant, while highly touted for its cuisine and atmosphere, has a special place in the community’s heart. Dozens of people walked by the restaurant Monday morning, sharing their heartfelt condolences for the owners.

John and Barkha Daily opened the business in 2014. Residents say, if not for them, this historic, 19th-century building would have been torn down.

Barkha and John Daily, owners of The Cheel
Barkha and John Daily, owners of The Cheel

Monday, the Cheel’s namesake shined in the surprisingly warm November sun. Cheel means eagle in Nepalese. An all-metal statue is atop the peaked roof of the historic building. While the eagle is a symbol of pride, strength, and courage, the community is hoping the restaurant will take the shape of a phoenix; rising again after Sunday’s devastating fire.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see it,” Martin said. “It’s so heart wrenching, knowing how much love and effort they’ve poured into this building and into their business over the last several years. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching and a huge loss.”

Barkha tells TMJ-4 News, she is not quite ready for an interview but says they are not sure what will come of the restaurant. The couple opened a taco shop, called Daily Taco, expected to open soon a few miles up the road. Whatever they decide to do, the Thiensville community will be there to support them.

“I think the Village of Thiensville will rally unbelievably well,” Martin said. “That’s who we are. We’ll enclose them with love and support and we’ll do whatever we need to do to help them rebuild.”

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

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