Whole World Natural Restaurant and Bakery, a refuge for vegetarians and vegans for more than 30 years, will remain closed for several weeks after a fire ripped through the Clintonville space this week.

Whole World Natural Restaurant & Bakery, a refuge for vegetarians and vegans for more than 30 years, will remain closed for several weeks after a fire ripped through the Clintonville space this week.

Manager Todd Warden said the store's owners are assessing the damage and hope to have Whole World back in business by Dec. 1.

"It's going to be a new place for the most part," he said.

A beverage cooler caught fire around 6 a.m. Oct. 28, and the flames spread throughout the store, 3269 N. High St. The restaurant, also badly damaged by smoke, will need a new floor, electrical wiring and HVAC equipment, Warden said.

Baker Maryellen "Mel" Curran arrived for work early Oct. 28 and noticed smoke billowing out of the building, Warden said. She called 911 unaware that the fire emanated from Whole World. When she went inside, she found the cooler ablaze.

Columbus firefighters extinguished the fire. The cause was electrical, said Columbus fire battalion chief David Whiting.

Whole World, owned by Dan and Kim Otanicar, was founded 31 years ago. The small eatery, which seats about 45, is known for its scratch-made baked goods, soups, sandwiches and pizzas, among other fare.

Jennie Scheinbach, owner of the Pattycake Vegan Bakery in Clintonville, said she's a regular customer at Whole World and its closing is a blow to the vegan and vegetarian communities.

"I hope it returns soon," she said. "My thoughts are with those guys."

She said she once experienced a small fire inside one of her ovens, which closed her restaurant for five days.

"I know what that's like," she said. "It's scary."

It's not the only bad news for Clintonville diners. Nancy's Home Cooking, which has been closed since June 1, was slated to reopen Nov. 1, but contracting issues and several illnesses will keep the doors shut for several more weeks, an owner said this week.