ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- The landmark Anaheim White House restaurant is set to reopen, fifteen months after a fire all but destroyed it.
"Crying my tears out. I called my family, I lost everything I worked for 30 years, 80 percent of the restaurant was gone," said Chef Bruno Serato, the owner.
In February 2017, the fire ripped through the restaurant. Investigators ruled it an accident caused by an electrical problem.
Serato wasn't sure he'd ever step back inside, but then the calls started.
"The love poured from all over the community, all over the world, overwhelmed. I received thousands of emails and phone calls," Serato said.
With that support and his insurance, Serato and his team completed a $2.5 million rebuild and renovation where the ashes once were. The new White House boasts 11 rooms, a new bar and the chef's attention to detail in fine art.
But what it really means is Bruno can continue serving thousands of meals a day to kids in need through his nonprofit, Caterina's Club.
"They were the first customer back in, kids were the priority for us and I'm happy. I'm just very happy," Serato said.
During the rebuild, he borrowed a kitchen to continue feeding the kids.
Serato said the first piece that went up in the restaurant was a photo of his mom, Caterina, his inspiration for his selflessness.
"I said, 'mom are you happy?' After that I laughed to myself, I said 'mom, I know you are very happy now,'" he said.
Serato said he'll begin cooking for the kids in two weeks. He's not opening for lunch so he can focus on feeding them.