Customers had to be evacuated from a Chester city centre restaurant after a fire broke out connected to wood burning ovens within the kitchen area.

Opera Grill was packed with guests being entertained by performers from legendary London music club Ronnie Scott’s when the upmarket venue had to be cleared just before 8pm on Thursday (September 21).

Witnesses said customers from neighbouring restaurants Las Iguanas and Coast to Coast were also evacuated.

Opera Grill in Pepper Street, Chester, was evacuated following a fire related to the wood burning ovens. Picture: Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Three fire crews from Chester, Ellesmere Port and Powey Lane tackled the blaze which was discovered in a ducting feed.

Firefighters extinguished the five wood burning ovens which fed into the ducting. The situation was monitored using a thermal imaging camera. Crews were on scene for about two hours.

Customers were looked after over the road at Opera Grill’s sister restaurant Piccolino.

Opera Grill later tweeted: “Thank you for everyone’s messages, all guests and staff are safe, we will keep you updated. The Opera team x”

The kitchen area of Opera Grill, Pepper Street, Chester, showing one of the wood burning ovens

Former journalist and now communications officer Gina Bebbington posted on Twitter : “Drama-Rama in Chester - looks like a fire at Opera Grill and Las Iguanas and Coast to Coast evacuated.”

Businessman Adam Dandy tweeted: “Really sorry to hear that there was a fire at one of Chester’s best restaurants tonight, Opera Grill, hope everyone is OK.“

This morning it looked like business as usual at Opera Grill. There was no sign of any damage and not even the smell of smoke. Early morning staff expected the restaurant to be open as normal.