WARM SPRINGS, GA (WTVM) - People come from all over the world to get a taste of the South at the Bulloch House. It is called the Heart of Warm Springs, but for the last two months, the heart has not been pumping.
The popular restaurant was closed in December, leaving more than 60 people without jobs. It was foreclosed after the previous owners, Michael and Phillis Bleckley, were accused of running a multi-million dollar investment scheme.
Now, it is under new ownership by Peter Lampert.
"I have been in the food business all my life. People are so drawn to fried chicken and fried green tomatoes and that was just unique to me," said Lampert.
The new owner is being called a hero by Warm Springs residents. A year ago, Lampert was asked to consult on the restaurant. That is when he says he fell in love with the place and the staff.
The closing was not only devastating for the employees for the Bulloch House, but for those here in downtown Warm Springs. Warm Springs Welcome Center Director Sabra McCullar says tourism is down 30%.
McCullar has seen the impact first hand. She remembers the days when 16 buses would roll through looking for the Bulloch House. Or people calling from Florida for directions. "Their question is 'How do I get to the Bulloch House?' They do not ask 'How do we get to Warm Springs?'"
Lampert told News Leader Nine, all 67 employees will be hired back. And, hopefully the community will rebound.
He plans to open the restaurant at the beginning of March.