Bath restaurateurs bolstered by community support after fire

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BATH — An outpouring of community support has bolstered the spirits of owners Karl and Mirinda Schaumburg after last week’s fire at their Southgate Family Restaurant.

“We’re floored and overwhelmed,” Karl Schaumburg said in an interview Saturday, Sept. 30.

A pig roast and auction fundraiser will be held at the Knight’s of Columbus headquarters, 807 Middle St., from 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28.

The 510 Washington St. fire was reported shortly after 6 p.m. Sept. 27; no one was in the building at the time. The cause of the blaze, which may have started in the kitchen, remains undetermined, although it does not appear to be suspicious, the state fire marshall’s office has said. Schaumburg said Tuesday that the state has concluded its investigation.

The Schaumburgs have run the restaurant since last November, and have two decades of restaurant experience.

“It’s a Bath fixture,” Schaumburg said of the restaurant, named after the South Gate of Bath Iron Works, which sits across Washington Street. “It’s such a community hot spot. Everybody that goes there is family, is the way we see it. All the customers and patrons that we’ve gotten to know, we feel a personal touch with them.”

Although popular with BIW employees, the restaurant caters to people of all ages and walks of life, Schaumburg said.

He and his wife leased the building from the Elwell Family Trust, and the owners have expressed interest in rebuilding, Schaumburg said, adding that “our hope and dream is to rebuild. … We’re going to try our best to keep the dream alive.”

Fiona’s Catering and Takeout, which sits near the Southgate restaurant at 528 Washington St., and the Galley Restaurant at 245 Centre St., are holding the Oct. 28 fundraiser. Tickets are $15 and available at both businesses.

“We know what it’s like to have a small business, and knowing (the Southgate employees) are out of work, that’s got to be tough,” Fiona’s owner Lisa Fraser said Sept. 29. “We know the owners pretty well, all of us. We’re right next door, we have the same customers.”

The funds raised will go toward helping out the Schaumburgs and Southgate’s eight employees, she said.

Each day since the fire has been a little easier, thanks chiefly to the community support, Schaumburg said.

“I can’t even express without breaking down crying how amazing (the community response) has been,” he said. “We’re absolutely overwhelmed.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

The Southgate Family Restaurant in Bath was gutted by fire Sept. 27. There has been an outpouring of community support for business owners Karl and Mirinda Schaumburg.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.