ROCKMART — Tommy Sanders’ voice wavered just a bit as he spoke about the scene that had materialized on a plot of his land just northeast of Rockmart.
A large gathering of family, friends and community members joined Sanders on a spot along Marquette Road on Monday, Aug. 2, to witness the start of a new era and the continuation of a legacy.
Nearly seven months after the original Pizza Farm Restaurant was destroyed by a fire, Sanders celebrated the groundbreaking for the new Pizza Farm Restaurant with hope and gratitude.
“It’s an emotional time. I’m thankful. We’ve always been blessed, and this shows it,” Sanders said, looking out at the many faces who attended the event and looked over plans for the new building. “I’m excited. We started with nothing, and that’s five months of work right there.”
An early morning fire on Jan. 9 ravaged the nearly 50-year-old establishment at its Knox Mountain location, gutting the inside and causing most of the roof to collapse. In the months since, the structure was completely demolished and cleared away.
Immediately after the fire, the Cedarstream Company and Jenny Burch created special shirts and hoodies featuring the Pizza Farm logo and the motto “Pizza Farm Strong” to sell with all of the proceeds going toward Pizza Farm employees.
Nearly just as quickly, Sanders stated his intention to rebuild, this time on his property just off of Ga. 113 close to Rockmart High School and over the mountain from the original location.
“I want to say thank you for all the prayers that we’ve had and good thoughts. We had Cedarstream step up and help all the workers,” Sanders told the crowd. “I’ll be glad when we open the doors.”
The new restaurant will be styled to look like a pole barn, according to Sanders, with seating for around 110 guests. The project is being overseen by E.A. Benefield contractors with a tentative opening date in December.
As a way of thanking everyone for their support, Sanders had jars of the Pizza Farm’s original salad dressing for guests to take home with them.