fire at the Wheelhouse?

Discussion in 'Dining and Food' started by amylouky, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. amylouky

    amylouky Beach Lover

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  2. seagrover

    seagrover Beach Fanatic

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    Yes, this is the Wheelhouse. The front door is boarded up with plywood. We have tried to find out info on this but have missed anything if it was in the NW Fla Daily news.

    Maybe info will be in the Sun this Saturday.
     
  3. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Meow

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    Will this be another Nick's? If so, there may be more condos on 30-A. This is like the third restaurant fire recently. Nick's, Cafe Spiazza and now Wheelhouse.
     
  4. JB

    JB Beach Fanatic

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    Speaking of the Wheelhouse, I have always been intrigued with the old-style cottages that are adjacent to the restaurant. Does anyone know the deal with these?
     
  5. Sandie

    Sandie Beach Comber

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    Info. on Seagrove Cottages--
    3031 E. County Highway 30-A
    Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
    phone #850-231-4206
    www.seagrovecottages.com
    Owner and Operator: The Flowers Family
    Established 1970
    This is all I know, hope this will help. I don't know the history on the cottages, but I've met Mrs. Elizabeth Flowers, a wonderful lady!!
     
  6. GVM

    GVM Beach Lover

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    Here's more from the local paper:

    Wheel House Restaurant burns in early morning fire
    By DEBORAH WHEELER
    Sun Reporter

    Elizabeth Flowers was awakened early Sunday morning to the sound of loud pounding on her door. Her heart raced as she stumbled out of bed and made her way to the front door. She was met by firefighters who had responded to the blaze at The Wheel House Restaurant, which stands 10 - 15 feet in front of her home. An ugly black smoke already surrounded the business Elizabeth and her husband, Dick, established in 1971.
    South Walton Fire District Deputy Chief Sean Hughes said the call came in at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived the whole back of the restaurant was engulfed in flames. Firefighters from three stations battled the blaze for almost an hour before it was extinguished.
    ?It was pretty labor intensive,? Hughes said. ?We attacked it and a couple of guys got a little overheated, but we rehabbed them at the site.?
    Hughes said the fire started along one wall in the kitchen resulting in the whole kitchen being destroyed. There is also smoke and water damage throughout the restaurant. Hughes estimated the damage to be about $300,000.
    ?I think it can be rebuilt. The metal roof over the kitchen collapsed, but the roof over the restaurant part looks fine,? he said.
    The intense heat from the flames melted the vinyl siding on one wall of Elizabeth?s home. Another 15 feet back, the siding on another wall had started to buckle.
    Two days later, Flowers struggled to talk about the fire at the Seagrove Beach icon that had been at the heart of her family for so many years.
    ?It was a coffee shop when we bought it from T.E. Lord and we just kept building on. My husband was a coach in Tallahassee and we wanted to buy a motel so we could move to the beach and have something to do. We fell in love with it and bought it and Seagrove Villas.
    ?I was speechless when I saw it on fire,? said Elizabeth as she fought back sobs. ?I get very emotional about it. It was so much a part of our life. But we?re so thankful no one got hurt.?
    The restaurant?s general manager, Doug Fitch, said all knobs on the oven and range were found in the ?off? position. On Tuesday, the State Fire Marshall and South Walton Fire District conducted a joint investigation into the cause of the fire and ruled it to be an electrical short at the source.
    Elizabeth and Dick Flowers purchased Seagrove Manor and Villas in 1971. Dick died in 1995, leaving Liz and their son, Al, as proprietors. However, the establishment?s presence as a vital part of the Seagrove community stretches back to the founding of Seagrove.
    In 1949 Paul and Margaret Benedict bought a beachfront lot for $1,750 from Seagrove founder Cube McGee Sr, on which McGee built a concrete block cottage for them in 1951. The Benedicts bought 300 feet more gulf front property from McGee in 1952 for $15,000, on which four duplexes were built. The Benedicts named the motel Seagrove Manor. They then added a coffee shop because they were so far from everything and their guests needed a place to eat. They served breakfast and sandwiches and later included seafood and steaks.
    The Benedicts sold the motel and coffee shop to T.E. Lord in 1967, but Lord didn?t keep the coffee shop operational.
    After the Flowers purchased the establishment, their son, Woody moved from Tallahassee in 1972 to open a seafood restaurant at the site as there was no other restaurant along the coast between Panama City and Destin. When Hurricane Eloise ripped off the restaurant?s roof in September 1975, Woody went back to Tallahassee. He was killed in an automobile accident in November. His picture hangs in The Wheel House.
    Through the years, the Seagrove restaurant evolved as the center of the community?s life, serving as a gathering place for civic events and celebrations. In the early days, the Flowers hosted fish fries, oyster shuckings and sponsored Labor Day picnics and 4th of July parades.
    The complex now consists of Seagrove Villas motel, Seagrove cottages, a beach store, a fish market and The Wheel House.
    The Wheel House has been featured in publications such as Southern Living magazine for its offering of down-home Southern cooking at an inexpensive price in an expensive community. Elizabeth said the magazine had just recently visited the restaurant for another planned feature.
    ?It?s such a shock,? she said again. ?We?re all in shock. It?s been such a part of our lives. But I am willing to rebuild if Al is.?
    Al and his wife, Teri, had no comment.
     
  7. Sandie

    Sandie Beach Comber

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    GVM, thanks for providing the information. I hope it won't be long before the Wheel House is up and running, we enjoy eating there when we're in Seagrove.
     

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