It’s been seven months since Karl and Mindy Schaumburg watched their dream go up in flames. Southgate, their restaurant across from Bath Iron Works for barely a year, caught fire and was destroyed on Sept. 27.

The Schaumburgs will reopen Southgate at 25 Centre Street on Monday, donating the opening day proceeds to the family of Madeline Marzen, a 4-year-old girl from Bath who died of a brain tumor in October.

“When the fire happened, we were all over the news, and on the front page of one paper, below us, was this story about this little girl who was dying of cancer,” Karl said. “We wanted to do something.”

“Our story seemed so small compared to what that family was going through,” Mindy Schaumburg added.

Her husband picked up where her words trailed off.

“Restaurants and buildings can be rebuilt,” he said. “Dreams can be rebuilt. Sweet little children who die of cancer can’t be rebuilt.”

Karl reached out to Amie Marzen, Madeline’s mom, and pledged to do something. A fundraiser was planned at the Chocolate Church to raise money for Madeline’s medical expenses, but it was just a couple weeks after the fire. The Schaumburgs were still figuring out what was next for them—and their employees.

We can’t help now, Marzen recalls Karl Schaumburg saying, but we want to.

Madeleine died just four days after the Chocolate Church concert. But the Schaumburgs didn’t forget their promise.

“People came out and supported us after the fire and we wanted to be able to do that, too,” Karl Schaumburg said.

Marzen will meet Karl and Mindy Schaumburg for the first time on Monday.

“I don’t even know these people,” she said. “That’s the most humbling part for me.”

Marzen says her family has been overwhelmed by support from the Bath community since Madeline was diagnosed last August, just two weeks before her fourth birthday. She was a normal, happy 3-year-old right up until that day, her mom said.

“People who didn’t even know her—or our family—just came out to help us. The Bath community is so incredible. It doesn’t matter if your 3 or 103, people in the community really care.

“It’s so rare,” Marzen said.

Karl Schaumburg tidies up in the new Southgate kitchen at 25 Centre St. Raye Leonard - Coastal Journal

The Schaumburgs always wanted to be downtown, and once the shock of losing the original restaurant settled into reality, Karl Schaumburg says they developed a renewed passion.

“We were able to build this place the way we wanted and the way we always wanted it to be,” he said.

He credits Roy Ordway at Sagadahock Real Estate Association with helping the couple relocate.

“Without them, we couldn’t have done it,” Schaumburg said.

The new Southgate seats 34 people, about 20 less than the it’s former location. Familiar menu items will return, as well as some new additions, like a spinach, tomato and feta omelet, something Mindy Schaumburg says people were always asking for.

Customer favorites like biscuits and gravy, homemade corned beef hash, and eggs benedict will also be back.

So will the wooden Southgate sign, which firefighters salvaged from the old building. Karl Schaumburg cleaned it up and it now hangs over the counter at the Centre Street address.

Pews from a Catholic church in Whitefield, refinished by an Amish family, line one wall of the new restaurant, waiting for customers to return.

Southgate will be open 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day but Wednesday. For more information, call 443-2525.

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