When the Bulloch House went down in flames in June 2015, the iconic restaurant’s owner Sandy Lampert watched in disbelief.
She and her husband, Peter, had purchased the Warm Springs, Ga., business in 2011 and had just celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Thinking it was the worst thing ever, she said it broke her heart.
Now, she is having a change of heart.
“I truly believe God had a hand in this,” she said.
Lampert made that statement because she believes the restaurant is now in a more visible location and is leading a revitalization in the city as she sees civic improvements being made and new businesses opening.
“The restaurant now on Broad Street is what brings many people here,” she said. “I think it has helped save Warm Springs.”
Thursday, the Bulloch House celebrated its one year anniversary in the building, which was formerly housed the Victorian Tea Room.
“It is more than 100 years old,” Lampert said. “It had been vacant for three years when we moved in. It took a lot of work to get it renovated. There was mold. There were termites. Bats were in the attic.”
The Fireflies Gift Boutique in the same location is in the former Canterburys Gift Shop and just before Thanksgiving, the Lamperts opened Lightnin’ Bugs Bakery and Café there.
Since the reopening of the Bulloch House, a new parking lot has been constructed, handrails put up and street lights restored, all by grant money, according to Lampert.
The original Bulloch House on Bulloch Street was built in 1893 by Benjamin F. Bulloch, cofounder of Bullochville, which is now Warm Springs. He, his brother and a cousin owned and operated Bulloch, Bussey, and Company, playing a prominent role in the history and development of the town.
Judy Foster, Charles Garrett and Sylvia Garrett purchased the building and in 1990 began the restaurant, which has been known through the years for serving its traditional Southern cooking and fried chicken buffet style.
Lampert says lightning caused the fire that brought the original Bulloch House down. Nothing has been built on the land that is still owned by the Lamperts.
The motto of the restaurant is “Southern Hospitality is not just a saying; it’s a way of life that exists at the Bulloch House in Historic Warm Springs, Ga.”