Bluffs Restaurant

Plans are under way for renovations to begin this month on the historic Bluffs Restaurant in Laurel Springs. The proposed re-opening is scheduled for mid-summer.

LAUREL SPRINGS — It has been almost 10 years since Bluffs Coffee Shop closed its doors. The restaurant served as a gathering place for many and is located at Milepost 240 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Through the help of donations, renovations will begin this month for the beloved eatery to re-open at Doughton Park.

For 60 years, Bluffs Coffee Shop was a favorite destination for travelers and community members, who came for the homemade fried chicken and beautiful scenery.

Bluffs opened its doors on May 31, 1949, but has been closed since Nov. 1, 2010.

People have been advocating for the restaurant’s return for years and many have given generous donations to cover the expenses for building’s necessary repairs.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps raise private funding for the BRP, sent out a release announcing the plan for Bluffs to reopen this summer.

About $60,000 is still needed to be raised in order to cover the remaining costs of the renovations and the foundation is accepting donations.

Rita Larkin, communications director at the BRPF, shared details about previous renovations and the plans for the coffee shop’s return.

Larkin said that mostly structural repairs and including modern kitchen equipment would be the main goals during the renovation. The original aesthetic of the historic restaurant will remain because it is what the customers loved about Bluffs.

According to Larkin, the park service had to remove mold and clean the building, More recently, the entire roof was replaced.

A grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will be used to fund the purchase of the modern equipment.

The building is owned by the National Park Service and will remain under their ownership.

However, Larkin shared that the BRPF will have some leeway and will be responsible to select the operator of the restaurant.

The plan is to begin renovations this month and following the necessary updates, they will select the operator.

From that point, the BRPF will ensure the building’s upkeep to guarantee that it will not suffer the same fate as it did in 2010.

“We’re thrilled that the community has rallied around this project and it is bringing back this place that so many people love,” Larkin said.

Those interested in making a donation to the restoration project may do so at www.brpfoundation.org.

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