If you've driven Highway 90 through Holmes County, there's a good chance you've seen it. Maybe you've even stopped there to eat, but it will be a while, if ever, before anyone will be stopping by the Holiday Restaurant. The historic Bonifay landmark has been destroyed by fire.
Fire wiped out 50 years of memories early Thursday morning when the Holiday Restaurant went up in flames.
Fire officials got the call a little before 2:00. Four different fire departments got control of the fire in just over half an hour, but the flames worked much faster, gutting the inside of the restaurant that has been serving locals and tourist for five decades.
Bill Parish shares, "If you were born here you probably grew up going down, getting a glass of tea and a good hamburger."
Jim Parish has been eating at the Holiday all of his life. He says it was more than a place to get something to eat.
“It's just been here a long time. A lot of people that grew up here and lived here all their lives enjoyed going down and visiting. Not so much enjoying the food, just a lot of fellowship and friendship with people you know stopping by to catch up on the news every day."
The restaurant was also a large part of James Davis' life.
James Davis, former owner, says, "It was built in 54 and I started running it right after that."
The restaurant sat just five feet from the Economy Lodge Motel. Authorities evacuated the motel, but firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to building. Now the community will have to wait and wonder if their old familiar friend will rise again from the ashes.
"I'm sure it will be missed a lot if they don't rebuild it. Hopefully they would be able to.”
Investigators believe a poorly wired light fixture started the fire.