The former owners and operators of an Asian fusion restaurant in Venice that was destroyed by fire last December are suing the owners of an adjacent restaurant and a contracting firm, blaming both for destroying their business.
The Dec. 12, 2018, fire occurred about 5:40 a.m. at Wabi Venice, in the 1600 block of South Abbott Kinney Blvd., Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department said at the time.
Plaintiffs Tricia Small Stabile and Sam F. Marshall filed the lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court against the Tasting Kitchen and Ocean Construction, alleging that the two undertook improvements completed at that restaurant, including renovating their kitchen, that did not comply with state building codes and regulations. The work was rushed in order to take advantage of anticipated increased holiday income, the suit alleges.
There was a foreseeable risk that an uncontrolled fire could start on the premises, the suit alleges.
“The construction work undertaken and implemented … was not approved or cleared by the appropriate and necessary Los Angeles Building and Safety agencies/departments,” the suit states..
A representative for the Tasting Kitchen could not be immediately reached.
The fire that burned down Wabi Venice started at the Tasting Kitchen and spread to the plaintiff’s eatery, the suit states.
Consumed by the fire, plaintiffs’ “once elegant, vibrant and successful restaurant, property, and business were incinerated, leaving a heap of ashes,” the suit states.
The lawsuit includes color photos of Wabi Venice before and after the fire.
According to restaurant spokeswoman Rebecca Brando, the eatery was days away from hosting its annual holiday charity event, “Wabi Winter Wonderland,” to benefit the Los Angeles County Department of Children Family Services. The fundraiser was to have been hosted by actress Meagan Good, she said.
The fire destroyed one-of-kind art pieces by Bay Area artist Laura Kimpton that were on display at the restaurant, Brando said.
Wabi Venice, once known as Wabi Sabi, had been a fixture in the Venice Beach area since 1992.