WARM SPRINGS, Ga.- A Warm Springs landmark, the Bulloch House will be opening a temporary location in downtown Warm Springs at the former Victorian Tea Room with a target open date of Nov. 1.
In the early morning hours of June 10, the restaurant caught fire. One of the owners, Peter Lampert says the cause of the fire was natural causes. Even though lightning was suspected, they can not say for certain that was the cause. “It was just like my heart was pulled out of my body,” Lampert said. “It was just so hard to see that.”
The restaurant sits, waiting to be demolished due to the damage. Reminders of the former restaurant sit among the ashes, including cakes inside a display case. “It’s just a shell. “It’s just charred remnants,” owner Sandy Lampert said. “It’s just hard to see it cause it was so beautiful. It’s just there one minute and the next minute it’s gone.” The Lamperts say it was a long process in trying to find a new location. They say they searched from Newnan to Columbus for a location, but they were adamant about staying in Warm Springs. Their first choice was the Victorian Tea Room and when the owner agreed to lease it to them, they jumped on it because the town needed it. “Without it, I don’t know what our future would be,” Warm Springs Mayor Bob Prater said. “Because like I said, it was the engine that drove our economics.” Sandy Lampert added, “When the restaurant closed, it was kind of like people said, nailing the lid on the coffin. Putting us back on main street right where everything is, I think is just what this town needs.”
The new location will be two floors and will seat the same amount of people as the former restaurant. It will also have the capability for outside seating. People say the restaurant will not be the same, but those in the community say the same staff and food will recreate the feeling.
Sheila Conley is part of the staff. She has been associated with the restaurant for more than 20 years and the re-open of the restaurant will put her back where she belongs. “That’s where I thought I should be everyday and to not be able to get up and go there and to ride by it, it’s heartbreaking and it takes a while to get over that but this will help in the healing process,” Conley said.
The renovations on the new location are slated to begin on Wednesday. The gift shop from the former restaurant will be moving a couple of stores down from the new location and Sandy Lampert who also runs the shop is considering naming it “Fireflies” due to the fireflies she saw while she was at the fire. There is no word on when the restaurant will be rebuilt on the former site.