The Bulloch House has a well-earned reputation of delicious, down-home cooking that draws people to Warm Springs. The current owners, since 2009, are Peter and Sandy Lampert, and they’ve not only kept the business going strong, they’ve built upon it — or rather, the ashes of it.
The original Bulloch House was built in 1893 by Benjamin F. Bulloch, co-founder of the town of Bullochville. After the town changed its name to Warm Springs, the building held onto its original name and in 1990, it was renovated and turned into a restaurant.
Unfortunately, in June 2015, lightning stuck the original building, smoldered in the wiring and burnt the structure to the ground during the night.
“When it erupted, thankfully, no one was in the building,” Sandy said. “It was so old, that it was like fat lighter [kindling]. The fire department tried to enter but had to rush out because the fire was taking hold so quickly and completely. It took less than 10 minutes for the old part of the building to burn down completely. The sky was glowing, and the flames were higher than the trees.”
The Lamperts had planned to rebuild on the same spot but found that the cost was prohibitive. They thought about moving the restaurant to another town.
“After the fire, we considered a move to Hampton or Columbus,” Peter said. “But in the end, we felt that Bulloch House belongs to Warm Springs.”
They located a building on Broad Street that could be renovated, and after some negotiation, the owner agreed to lease it to the Lamperts while the insurance claim was being processed. Renovations got underway and the Bulloch House reopened on Dec. 1, 2015.
The spacious two-story restaurant has an elegant feel with high windows and white chandeliers. The walls are decorated with black-and-white photos of local history, and the menu, which changes weekly, features favorites like fried chicken, baked ham and catfish. There are also fried green tomatoes, collards, homemade biscuits and cornbread. Dessert includes six-layer chocolate cake, old fashioned pecan pie and banana pudding.
“A lot of people like this location better,” Peter said. “The parking can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s easier to find and it’s surrounded by shops.”
One of those shops is the Lampert’s own Fireflies Gift Boutique, just a few doors down. Shoppers delight in a wide selection of women’s jewelry and baby gifts as well as collegiate gear and must-have housewares.
The name of the shop has special meaning for Sandy and goes back to the fateful night of the fire. “We got the phone call in the middle of the night, and my husband rushed right over. He called me crying, ‘It’s gone…it’s all gone!’”
When she got there, Sandy watched the embers burning and floating up into the trees. “To me, they looked fireflies, what we call lightning bugs,” she said.
The original restaurant had a gift shop attached to it, and the shop also suffered from the fire. “When we reopened our gift shop in this new location, it just made sense to name it Fireflies,” Sandy said.
Recently, the Lamperts have added a bakery/cafe behind the gift boutique, offering coffee, fudge and cookies as well as specialty cakes and pies, all baked on premises. And they’ve named it Lightnin’ Bugs.
For more about the Bulloch House, 70 Broad Street in Warm Springs, visit bullochhouse.com.
Editor’s Note: This story is part of Head for the Hills, our annual special section about Georgia vacation spots and properties.