WARM SPRINGS, Ga. – A fire may have destroyed the Bulloch House in Warm Springs 18 months ago, but the flames did not smother the determination of its owners to rise from the ashes. Phil Scoggins recently spoke with visited with Peter and Sandy Lampert about the incredible survival story of the Bulloch House.
On the hill above Warm Springs sits the empty lot that was once home to the popular Bulloch House.
“I don’t like to go up there. It’s sad,” says Peter Lampert.
18 months ago the iconic restaurant was struck by lightning in the middle of the night and burned to the ground. One year ago this month it re-opened in a new location on Broad Street in Downtown. There’s a picture behind the cash register that’s a constant reminder of the Bulloch House legacy. That legacy also lives on in the buffet line, where they’re still serving up plenty of fried chicken and fried green tomatoes much to the delight of customers’.
“They love the place, the decorations. It’s not the same, it’s different, but they love it. So long as the food is the same.. the service is the same..they don’t mind,” says Peter Lampert.
Peter Lampert says he continued to provide his employees with a paycheck after the fire, until he could open in the new location.
“And I’m very happy about it because they know the business almost better than I do because they’ve been here for so long,” says Peter Lampert.
The Bulloch House: A blessing from a tragedy
Just down the sidewalk from the Bulloch House is a gift shop called Fireflies, run by Peter’s wife, Sandy. Adjoining the shop is a new café and bakery called Lightnin’ Bugs. Those names take Sandy back to June 10, 2015 when the old restaurant caught fire.
“As I was watching it burn, all the little embers were going through the trees and it looked like little fireflies or lightning bugs,” says Sandy Lampert.
And that’s what inspired the names for her shop and café.
Over the past year the Lamperts say business has picked up in the Downtown area.
“People are coming in and saying, we drive through everyday at 11:00 and we have no parking, and that hasn’t happened for a long time in Warm Springs,” says Peter Lampert.
“We’ve had several new businesses open up. People are painting their shops. There’s a whole renaissance going on in Warm Springs and that had a huge impact on us making the decision to stay here,” says Sandy Lampert.
Some folks might say the fire that destroyed the Bulloch House doomed the small town’s future. Not in Sandy and Peter’s eyes.
“It’s a blessing from a tragedy, and I tell people I think it was the fire that saved the little town Warm Springs,” says Sandy Lampert.