Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Bahama Bob's Restaurant Fire | When Will it Re-open?

Bahama Bobs restaurant fire
Photo by WKRG News

Approximately one month following a July fire that forced the closure of Bahama Bob’s Beachside Cafe in Gulf Shores, there are promising signs of a revival for the iconic restaurant in Alabama.

In an interview with WKRG's Debbie Williams, Whit Spellman, the manager of the establishment, expressed strong optimism about the restaurant's future. He affirmed, "We are committed to making a comeback. Currently, we are in the process of evaluating the extent of the damage. However, as we gradually clean up the aftermath, the situation is progressively improving."

Tina Wesner, another manager at Bahama Bob's, acknowledged the restaurant's history of encountering adversity. She stated, "I've experienced challenges like [hurricanes] Ivan and Katrina, but, as my colleague mentioned, this is an unprecedented situation for us." According to both Spellman and Wesner, it is estimated that the fire caused significant damage to around 30 to 35 percent of the building.

The incident occurred on the evening of Sunday, July 16, during dinner service when patrons began to notice the emergence of smoke within the popular tourist destination. Beverly Cross, who was present at the time, recollected, "We were enjoying our meal when the scent of smoke reached us. Soon after, there were urgent shouts instructing everyone to evacuate. It's truly unfortunate. Thankfully, everyone managed to escape."

When will Bahama Bob's re-open in Gulf Shores
Photo by Gulf Shores FD
The staff promptly guided customers out of the premises, with Cross observing the unfolding events from across the street. She recounted that it took merely seven minutes before flames engulfed the restaurant. Matt Mauller, vacationing with his family, had a similar experience. He shared, "Right after placing our orders, we detected smoke. Before we knew it, the entire area was filled with smoke and the front of the building was ablaze. Despite the chaos, the team at Bahama Bob's exhibited remarkable efficiency in evacuating and ensuring the safety of everyone. Even the wait staff ensured that all their assigned tables were accounted for amidst the fire."

Firefighters managed to extinguish the flames within a span of 30 to 40 minutes after the evacuation.

In the aftermath of the disaster, the local restaurant community came together in a remarkable display of support, absorbing all 60 of Bahama Bob's employees into their establishments.

Tina Wesner expressed lightheartedly, "When we are ready to reopen, they'll need to return to us." However, the reopening date remains a distant goal. She added, "Although it might take some time, we are dedicating our efforts to expedite the process as much as possible."

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