Fire ravages The Cheel in Thiensville

Damage called a "total loss," owners hope to 'rebuild and rise like a phoenix'

A fire damaged the historic Thiensville building that houses The Cheel. Photo credit: Jesse Daily

Last updated on November 11th, 2020 at 10:47 am

Barkha and Jesse Daily, the owners of The Cheel in Thiensville, are reeling from a fire that broke out Sunday afternoon at their popular Napalese restaurant.

The historic building, located at 105 S. Main St., sustained a “great deal of damage,” but no firefighters or civilians were injured, said Village of Thiensville fire chief Brian Reiels in an interview with BizTimes Milwaukee early Monday afternoon.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Thiensville Fire Department and the state fire marshal, who was on the scene Monday, said Reiels. Most of the damage from the fire occurred in the attic, but the point of origin is still unknown. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the building.

The Dailys, who opened The Cheel in 2014, were both unavailable for comment Monday morning, but Jesse Daily broadcast a live video via Facebook showing the restaurant’s dining room covered in debris and water. He also posted a photo that looks like it was taken sometime before the incident, with the caption, “Let’s hope we can rebuild and rise like a phoenix…”

This afternoon, this message was posted on The Cheel’s Facebook page, “Just got the word, it’s a total loss. Keep our staff and team in your prayers…we will be back – and hopefully stronger!”

Barkha Daily captured the incident live on Facebook Sunday asking for prayers. Local residents and customers took to social media in response, expressing words of sympathy and support.


Firefighters first arrived on the scene at about 3:15 p.m. Thiensville called in support from fire departments in Ozaukee County, Washington County, Waukesha County and Milwaukee County, said Reiels.

Barkha Limbu Daily and Jesse Daily
Barkha Limbu Daily and Jesse Daily

The fire spread rapidly, and was difficult to fight due to the age of the building and multiple remodels to the structure. It took about two hours to control the blaze, but crews remained on the scene for longer to extinguish hot spots. None of the buildings located near The Cheel sustained any damage.

“Our thoughts are with Barkha and Jesse,” said Reiels. “They are such an integral part of our community. I feel terrible for their loss. We hope that they’ll be able to recover and have the thriving business that they had going.”

Construction was set to begin soon a new four-season pavilion along the south side of The Cheel’s historic Main Street building. The space was to include a climate-controlled socially distant dining area, topped with a seasonal rooftop patio to host events and provide overflow seating for its ground-level beer garden, The Baaree. The project was intended to drive business this winter as indoor capacity remains limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, the Dailys announced they would expand their presence in Thiensville with a new fast-casual Mexican restaurant concept, called Daily Taco & Cantina. The restaurant is slated to open this month at 105 W. Freistadt Road.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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