3-alarm fire burns popular pizza restaurant, theater in McMinnville

A fire early Wednesday forced a beloved McMinnville pizza restaurant and theater to close.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 6:24 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MCMINNVILLE Ore. (KPTV) - A three-alarm fire early Wednesday forced a beloved McMinnville pizza restaurant and theater to close.


McMinnville police said Friday that they have identified and interviewed two people of interest who were spotted on surveillance video in the area.

Al Whitaker who owns 3rd Street Pizza Company woke up to a phone call with news he wasn’t prepared for.

“One of the customers at McMenamins hotel was out having coffee or checking something and noticed it in the alley behind our restaurant, flames coming out. He called it in right away. We’re really glad he did that,” Whitaker said.

SEE ALSO: Downtown Portland’s ‘open air drug market’ now completely boarded up with plywood

Flames engulfed the building, destroying their movie theater and causing major smoke damage. Luckily, no one was hurt and no other buildings burned.

Whitaker is staying as optimistic as he can, but said the timing couldn’t be worse.

“It’s insured, it’s stuff. It’s going to be a pain in the backside,” he said. “We’re going right into the summer in a tourist town like ours. This is your revenue months.”

Neighbors and local business owners in this tight-knit community are devastated to see the damage.

“It’s sad. It’s a great business and they’ll bounce back. He will. He’s got a lot of friends on this street,” Rich Washburn, owner of Pinot Vista Vineyards across the street, said.

SEE ALSO: Bear attacks La Grande man after he shoots it twice

Some businesses have already stepped up to help and Whitaker said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.

“My phone has just been blowing up. We’re sitting here in front of Two Dogs Tavern, my friend owns this place, and we’re right across the street from McMenamins. Both those establishments right away got a hold of me and said send your employees our direction we’ll get them hours,” Whitaker said. “It’s not a good day, but overall, I’m thinking this is pretty cool.”

He said he’s planning to meet with the Yamhill County Health Department to see whether they can serve food outside during the summer months while they work to repair the restaurant.

Whitaker said the best way the community can support them is to buy some pizza and watch a movie at 3rd Street Pizza when they eventually reopen.