Flames destroy Mozy Cafe and three other Leucadia businesses

A fire burned down Mozy Cafe and affected other businesses in Leucadia on Monday, Sept. 30 around midnight.

The cafe, along with the Cali Life art gallery, Shatto, Sons T-shirts and Peace Pies, were in a building cornered between North Coast Highway 101 and Daphne Street. Fire crews arrived within approximately three minutes, when the fire was already affecting the whole building. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.

“This was a touch of my present, a lot of my past that I can’t get back and a lot of my future that I had plans for,” photographer Greg Cali, who owns the Cali Life art gallery, said.

At approximately 12:00 a.m., a fire broke out inside the kitchen of Leucadia’s plant-based cafe. The restaurant shares a location with three other businesses, including Shatto and Sons Custom T-Shirts, Peace Pies, and The Cali Life art gallery.

“I was very saddened and frustrated,”Ryan Shatto, current owner and son to the founder of Shatto and Sons, a custom t-shirt shop, said. “Many emotions going through my head at that time. We have been there for 44 years and I was raised in that building, so it was very tough.”

By 6:30 a.m., the fires had been extinguished, but shops had been completely demolished. To reach the fires located in the interior of the cafe, the entire face of the building had to be ripped off by a backhoe. 

“Halfway down the road, the owner of the building texted me, saying that it’s all gone,” Greg Cali, owner of The Cali Life art gallery said. “Nothing was salvaged, other than the sign I had hanging out front.”

This was a touch of my present, a lot of my past that I can’t get back and a lot of my future that I had plans for

— Greg Cali

Authorities are unaware of the cause of the fires, but it is believed that the cause was Mozy’s outdoor heaters or the kitchen stove are to blame.

“The owner sent me a picture of Mozy’s and I could see the little fire coming out of the roof,” Cali said. “I was just crossing my fingers that it was stuck to the corner and didn’t make it anywhere else.” 

Mozy Cafe was an iconic health food restaurant cherished by locals and tourists from all over. Its unique, colorful decor gave customers a welcoming and relaxed environment to dine in at all times of the day. It was a staple for the Pacific Coast Highways Leucadia and a classic for North County residents.

“One time, my friend Cheska Pecoraro and I went to Mozy after a surf competition,” sophomore Zoe Goldstein said. “It was a really tough competition because the waves were really big but we got an açaí bowl and all was good.”

Owners representing each of the companies have set up pages with GoFundMe to help finance reconstruction of the storefront. A total of almost $26,000 has been raised for the gallery, bakery, print shop and cafe. Revival is uncertain, but the store-owners are keeping a positive attitude and hoping for the best.

“There has been a lot of support from the community,” Shatto said.

Since the recent tragic events, the community of Leucadia has joined together to fundraise money for the damage caused.

“It’s been an experience, to say the least,” said Cali. “We’ve had a ton of people supporting in all different ways. People have been donating, texting and emailing and it’s been really, really supportive.”