A popular downtown Halifax restaurant caught fire early yesterday morning, forcing dozens of people living above the Spring Garden Road location to be evacuated from their residences.

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency was called to the Saege Bistro at 5885 Spring Garden Rd. at 3 a.m. and upon arrival, saw smoke coming from inside the restaurant.

There was no one inside at the time and the fire was put out quickly.

Tenants from the apartments above the restaurant were evacuated as a safety precaution due to heavy smoke. They were allowed back inside within two hours and Metro Transit was on hand to assist the tenants.

“It wasn’t a major blaze at all,” said regional fire platoon chief Chuck Bezanson. “The actual fire damage was limited to the restaurant and one specific area of the restaurant.

“More smoke than fire and more inconvenience than damage.”

Bezanson said they’re still investigating the cause of the fire, but they don’t believe it’s suspicious in nature.

The restaurant suffered extensive smoke and water damage and is expected to re-open in about two weeks.