Bird-in-Hand announces temporary restaurant closure

Fire damages kitchen and lobby of popular Restaurant & Smorgasbord

Bird-in-Hand, PA, January 31, 2024Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord experienced a fire that damaged its kitchen and front lobby area.

Firefighters from Hand-in-Hand Fire Company and other neighboring companies were dispatched to the scene at 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30, and fought the blaze for about three hours.

“We are grateful for the rapid response from our local emergency services departments, and most grateful that no one was hurt,” said John E. Smucker, II, Bird-in-Hand’s president and chief executive officer. “Our fire protection system was a remarkable deterrent to contain greater damage.”

The restaurant is currently closed, and the cause of the fire and extent of the damage are being assessed.

The restaurant was closed for 10 days in December following a fire at the adjacent Bird-in-Hand Family Inn. Prior to the December 28 reopening, the restaurant’s structure, gas line and tanks, heating/ventilation/air conditioning, water and electrical systems passed extensive safety inspections.

“Our family has a long tradition of providing good food and hospitality to the local community and visitors to Lancaster County, and our Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord has been a key part of that tradition for generations,” Smucker said. “We fully intend to rebuild the restaurant, just like we are rebuilding the damaged structures at our Bird-in-Hand Family Inn, and to reopen when it is safe to do so.”

The company is exploring ways to continue to serve its dining guests and to support its restaurant employees who are impacted by the closure. We have established a GoFundMe page where the community can donate funds to help employees replace lost wages and benefits during this difficult time. Donations can also be made to the Bank of Bird-in-Hand. Checks can be sent to Bank of Bird-in-Hand, 309 North Ronks Road, Bird-in-Hand PA, 17505 or in person to any of their locations. Please make checks payable to Bird-in-Hand Corporation and note BIH Staff Fund on the memo line.

The Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Cafe, Artisan Village and the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn all are operating on their normal schedules.

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Bird-in-Hand Family Inn will reopen

Bird-in-Hand, PA, January 8, 2024 – The Bird-in-Hand Family Inn is scheduled to reopen on January 9 and is currently taking reservations. The resort hotel has been closed since December 18, following a fire that destroyed its front office building. Guests will be accommodated in the Pool Building, which was undamaged by the fire.

“We look forward to welcoming guests back to our hotel,” said John E. Smucker, II, Bird-in-Hand’s president and chief executive officer.

The largest of the hotel’s building, the Pool Building has 90 rooms and suites, plus a host of recreational facilities, including two heated indoor pools, a hot tub, a game room and an exercise room. The check-in desk has been temporarily relocated to the building’s D Lobby, near the second carport.

“Guests can be confident that our Pool Building has passed all appropriate inspections,” Smucker said. “Once we receive an occupancy permit for the undamaged portion on the west end of the Front Building, we anticipate opening up those rooms as well.”

The fire did an estimated $1 to $2 million damage to the sales office, registration area and several of the rooms in the Front Building, including its popular Schoolhouse Suite and other Village Rooms. Pending results of the inspector’s report and receipt of necessary permits, the company intends to rebuild those facilities.

Hotel staff is in the process of contacting guests who hold reservations for closed portions of the Family Inn to inform them of the updates. For questions about an existing reservation, or to book a room or suite, contact Central Reservations at (717) 768-8271 or CentralReservations@Bird-in-Hand.com.

“Our family has served visitors to Lancaster County for decades, and we look forward to carrying on our tradition of hospitality long into the future,” Smucker said.

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Family Inn Fire Updates

Bird-in-Hand announces reopening of restaurant and stage

Site passes all necessary safety inspections following fire in adjacent hotel.

Bird-in-Hand, PA, December 28, 2023Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord reopens its doors at 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 28. Following a fire at the adjacent Bird-in-Hand Family Inn, the restaurant’s structure, gas line and tanks, heating/ventilation/air conditioning, water and electrical systems passed safety inspections.

The Bird-in-Hand Stage, on the restaurant’s lower level, is also open this week until it closes for the season after the last performance of Our Christmas Dinner on December 30.

“You can be confident that comfort and safety are our top priority, and we are grateful to be able to welcome guests back to our restaurant and stage,” said John E. Smucker, II, Bird-in-Hand’s president and chief executive officer. “Although the Family Inn currently remains closed, we hope to be able to announce a reopening date soon.”

If guests with reservations have questions, they can contact Central Reservations at (717) 768-8271 or CentralReservations@Bird-in-Hand.com.

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Bird-in-Hand plans vigil for employee lost in fire

Beloved staff member will be remembered on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m.

Bird-in-Hand, PA, December 19, 2023 – Bird-in-Hand Corporation plans to hold a vigil to honor the life of Michele Miller, an employee who lost her life in a devastating fire at the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn on December 18. Staff and the community at large are invited to attend and share their memories of Michele at the vigil, which will begin at 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Family Inn.

Miller, 61, was night auditor at the hotel and was on the premises when an explosion occurred in the front office at approximately 2:30 a.m. She had worked for the company for 34 years, and lived in Lancaster with her husband, Joe.

“Michele was a long-time and much-loved member of the Bird-in-Hand family, and we are heartbroken by her tragic loss,” said John E. Smucker, II, Bird-in-Hand’s president and chief executive officer. “We are committed to honoring her memory.”

Community members who wish to are encouraged to donate in Miller’s name to Water Street Mission in Lancaster or St. Patrick Pottsville Area Kitchen in Pottsville.

The Bird-in-Hand Family Inn, at 2740 Old Philadelphia Pike, closes the week before Christmas every year for cleaning and maintenance, so very few people were in the building on the night of the fire, which appears to have been caused by a propane explosion and did an estimated $1 million to $2 million in damages.

“We are grateful that no one else was injured, and for the first responders from several local departments,” Smucker said. “We also want to thank the community for their outpouring of support. We have received so many calls from people asking how they can help.”

The Family Inn is closed until further notice. The company is assessing damage to the hotel and the adjacent Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant and Smorgasbord. The restaurant will be closed until at least December 23, and the Bird-in-Hand Stage, located on the restaurant’s lower level, will be closed until at least December 25.

Reservation and ticketholders are being notified. If guests with reservations have questions, they can contact Central Reservations at (717) 768-8271 or CentralReservations@Bird-in-Hand.com beginning Wednesday, Dec. 20.

“We are in discussions about rebuilding the hotel, and we are committed to reopening and serving our restaurant and stage guests as soon as possible,” Smucker said.

In the meantime, the company’s other lodging properties, its Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Cafe and Artisan Village all are operating on their normal schedules.

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