Faulty smoker blamed in fire at Dittmer's

Owner of gourmet butcher shop says he hopes to reopen soon

A malfunctioning smoker could be to blame for a two-alarm blaze that significantly damaged a butcher shop and shut down a neighboring sushi restaurant in Mountain View early Sunday afternoon, a fire spokeswoman said.

Firefighters responded to an employee-reported fire at Dittmer's Gourmet Meats and Wurst-Haus at 400 San Antonio Road at about 11:50 a.m. Jan. 23, fire spokeswoman Jaime Garrett said.

Arriving crews found flames and smoke coming out of the butcher shop, and about 30 firefighters were called in to put out the blaze, Garrett said.

The fire burned mostly in the building's attic and rafters, Garret said. The inside of the store was unscathed by the flames, but there was extensive smoke damage.

She estimated that the damage might cost about $60,000 to repair.

The fire appears to have started in one of the butcher shop's two commercial smokers, Garrett said.

Dittmer Bubert, the store's founder, speculated that the finely ground wood chips that produce smoke for the smoker may have caught fire after the machine's thermostat malfunctioned. He guessed that a grease flare up may have caused the fire spread through the ceiling and into the attic.

No injuries were reported, but Dittmer's and the neighboring Masa Sushi closed until further notice because a wall separating the two businesses was damaged in the fire, Garrett said.

A representative from Masa said she did not know when the sushi restaurant would reopen.

Bubert, who opened the store in 1978, crafts his gourmet meats according to German traditions he began learning as a teenager in Germany. The Voice profiled Dittmer's in 2001. He has been honored multiple times with awards from the California Association of Meat Processors.

He attributes the awards to never compromising on the quality of his ingredients. "You use the best and you can make the best," he said.

Dittmer's is a family business, Bubert said. Both his son and daughter are involved.

While he has yet to sort out all of the details with the insurance company, the city and the county, Bubert is confident that his store will reopen soon. He said the store might reopen in as little as one week, although he said it could take as long as two months to get back on track.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


Posted by Nooooo!!!!, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Smoked Meats! Get 'yer smoked meats here!

Dittmer's is a treasure... hoping for a rapid reopening, say.... before the SuperBowl :)

Posted by Tyrone, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Dear God, NOOOOOO!!!!
Where will I get my Bratwurst, Weisswurst, bacon, smoked meats,...

Only quickly, Mr. Dittmer.

Posted by Tyrone, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm

correction: I meant to say "OPEN quickly".

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Cheer up people, the WURST is yet to come....;-)...

Posted by mrpc, a resident of Castro City
on Jan 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

maybe a bigger store in the future? Glad No one was injured!!!!

Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2011 at 9:08 am

USA is a registered user.

Damn, you all beat me to the best jokes. I won't be able to ham it up. (See, I'm down to the dregs.)

Posted by Zawzejez, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Where there's smoke, there's fire

Posted by jupiterk, a resident of Gemello
on Jan 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

never been to this store. I hope this business man can recover quickly and back in business soon.

Posted by C. Reader, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Their hot dogs are great.

Posted by Trisha, a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm

My heart goes out to the owners and families. What a way to start off 2011.
Hang in there and your fans/supporters will see you at the Re-Opening!

Posted by LFM, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Wishing Dittmer's a quick recovery. This store is a Mountain View treasure and I hope the city will fast track permits to get it operational again.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I love Dittmer's. I hope you reopen soon.

Posted by JimW, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I love Dittmer's, but I'm an even bigger fan of Masa Sushi. I hope they both reopen quickly!

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Terrible news! Very glad no one was hurt and very very glad to hear that Dittmer's will re-open again soon -- Dittmer's is an institution in our family.

Posted by Das Auge, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Dittmer's ist am besten!

Posted by Danielle P., a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Mark + family - Open quickly! My fmaily and I wish you the best!

Posted by SushiFan, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Masa's Sushi has reopened!!!

Posted by phm, a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Dittmer's - love your corned beef, your steaks, your European groceries, and your great service. They don't make 'em like Dittmer's anymore. Awaiting your grand reopening, soon I hope.

Posted by Susan H, a resident of Castro City
on Jan 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Not only is Dittmer's meat good they are great community supporters who make affordable sausages, etc available to community service groups for fund raisers. Best wishes for a smooth remodeling and reopening soon! It was at least the best-smelling fire in the area in a ling time!

Posted by Voice Reader, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I am so happy for a couple reasons
- that nobody was hurt
- that I finally could read a Voice blog with only positive comments

Good luck to Dittmar's. It is a unique and wonderful store - I add my wishes for a speedy re-opening.

Posted by Gayle Lundquist, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Love Dittmer's, please open soon!!

Posted by Sean, a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

This butcher's shop is part of my definition of "the good life" and I'm feeling deprived without it.

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