The fire department received a call at about 9:20 p.m. of a reported fire at a strip mall in the 4800 block of San Felipe Road that was emitting smoke outside the Pasta Pomodoro and Panda Express eateries, San Jose fire spokesman Capt. Mike Van Elgort said.
When firefighters arrived, they saw smoke billowing from behind a restaurant sign within a crawl space and streaming outside the building's facade, but there were no flames, Van Elgort said.
Several patrons in the Pasta Pomodoro and the Panda Express and restaurant workers from each had to be evacuated.
Firefighters extinguished the smoldering heat within about 45 minutes and no one was injured, Van Elgort said.
The restaurants sustained minor damage from water firefighters sprayed into the attic above the establishments.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but it "appears to be electrical," Van Elgort said.
The call went to two alarms and briefly to three, which was canceled almost right away, Van Elgort said.