HAHIRA, GA (WALB) - "It was terrible. It was really devastating," John Gunn recalled his thoughts after hearing a Hahira restaurant caught fire months ago, "I didn't believe he could bring it back, but he did."
After a devastating fire ripped through Church Street Cafe in September, the owners have been able to restore and reopen.
"Just try to keep the traditional things in but bring a little new, fresh, clean feel," owner Josh Owens described the new look of Church Street Cafe.
When customers dine in at the restaurant, it looks a little different.
"Beauty from ashes. He's brought beauty from ashes. I think that's true," said Owen.
Beauty from ashes, because just a few months ago the building went up in flames.
"I woke up to a phone call and said the cafe was on fire. Came up to find that to be true," Owen recalled.
But after 4 months of hard work and a few fundraisers, the cafe was ready to reopen.
"It looks bigger, it's all pretty and clean, and I love all the tables," said customer Lee Bryan.
For some locals it wasn't just about the look of the Cafe, the old restaurant was also a living history book.
"Everybody in town usually had a family member's picture on the wall," explained Bryan.
And those pictures and memorabilia that were in the old restaurant? Well, they were able to save some of them too and of course bring them back.
"We were able to re-frame them, clean them up and get them back in here," explained Owen.
Area high schools and colleges will be sending new helmets to the cafe as well to replace the ones that burned in the fire.
But most importantly, regular customers came back too.
"It's part of our community, it's the gathering place," said Bryan, "It's just where everybody comes to see each other."
A tragic fire, but one employees say led to a positive change.