ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Lookout Mountain's Café on the Corner is about to reopen.

The restaurant was destroyed by fire last year.

The eatery is set to officially reopen on Dec. 10.

The reconstruction has been nearly a year of continuous effort.

Ruth Oehmig and the cafe are priming for its big comeback with a fundraiser to benefit Lookout Mountain volunteer firefighters Monday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.

"We're calling it 'The Fireman's Fundraiser: Party on the Patio.' We're just gonna have a big party, a casual family affair with some good food," Oehmig said. "It's mainly just getting all the members of our community together, and anyone who'd like to help us raise funds for these guys."

some text
A rendering of the newly rebuilt Café on the Corner on Lookout Mountain.
some text
Site of fire at Cafe on the Corner on Lookout Mountain.
some text
The inside of Cafe on the Corner after an overnight fire destroyed the restaurant atop Lookout Mountain.

There will be numerous activities for children, including the opportunity to tour a firetruck and try on firefighter's gear.

Oehmig felt called to help out the local firefighters after she heard that the gear they were using was in need of an upgrade.

"We're a really tight-knit community, so I know all of these firefighters. They are guests at our restaurants; they're friends and family," she said. "I started talking to them, and when I heard they needed more-adequate equipment, that's when I got thinking to help. I mean, they put their lives on the line. They need to be protected in the best possible way.

"Specifically, we're looking to raise funds for air packs and communication systems, some pretty essential stuff," she added.

Oehmig became acutely aware of the work the local fire crews do when her restaurant, Café on the Corner, succumbed to a blaze on May 26, 2014. She had owned and operated the restaurant for six years up to that point.

"All the old beautiful brick walls we had couldn't be saved because the mortar and brick were compromised. The heat was so bad in here that we couldn't use anything; nothing was salvageable," she said, referencing the fire, which was caused by a gas explosion. "The fire got up to 1,200 degrees, and there was a gas main in the back that was spewing fire for several hours. The fire was so bad they couldn't save my building, but what they did was save the rest of the block."

Although the fire claimed so much from Oehmig, she never faltered in her dream to bring the restaurant back to life.

"Definitely, it was devastating for me not to be able to get up and walk in this building that I so loved. It was a beautiful, warm, cozy building with lots of character," she said, adding, "I never doubted that I was going to reopen, though. Never once."

The community rallied around Oehmig in the weeks and even months after the fire. In fact, she said she still gets letters, emails and phone calls from all over the country wishing her the best and wondering when Café on the Corner is set to open once again.

"I couldn't do it without the community," said Oehmig. "From the minute I decided to do this, the support from the community was overwhelming. Every single person in this community expressed their grief."

Even the firemen who had fought the blaze wept with her over the loss of her restaurant as they embraced her on that early May morning when she first saw her beloved cafe after the fire, she said.

"That's how it had been since I opened the doors," Oehmig said. "Everyone has been really friendly and really supportive. Everyone has had my back throughout the entire time."

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT