Hot Betty’s owner giving the yellow ‘Tucker House’ a new life

Tucker House, at the corner of Lynburn Drive and Lawrenceville Highway, is the future home of a market-restaurant by Hot Betty’s owner Shea Powell. Photo by Logan C. Ritchie.

Tucker, GA — Big plans are in the works for Tucker House, the famous yellow cottage at the corner of Lynburn Drive and Lawrenceville Highway.

Shea Powell, the spunky, multi-talented owner of Hot Betty’s Breakfast Bar on Main Street, bought Tucker House less than 6 months ago, and is now ready to move forward with a concept unlike anything in the city.

In a café atmosphere, Powell wants to create a warm, eclectic place where diners can buy provisions for dine in or carry out. It will be the kind of place to hold a business meeting over lunch by day, and a book club meeting over drinks and dessert by night.

“I’m trying to bring some new concepts to Tucker that are original and inviting for surrounding areas, accessible to all kinds of people,” said Powell, who plans to carry local products and support local vendors.

The market-restaurant has not been named yet. Powell said she wants feedback about the concept and name, and she invited people to e-mail ideas to [email protected].

“My job is to fulfill the community. I want to make sure this is something the community supports, loves and cherishes,” she said.

Powell said she is working closely with the city of Tucker to create a concept that fits into the character of the downtown area. Inside, rooms will be individually decorated while the backyard will provide outdoor seating, along with some parking on the half acre lot.

“We’ll put lots of love and TLC into the house,” said Powell, who is experienced in real estate development. “I want to preserve as much as possible to keep the integrity of the house, but give it a little character and flair.”

Powell figures groundbreaking will happen in summer 2022 and the market-restaurant will open in 2023.

“I’m excited about having another quaint place for Tucker to enjoy,” said Powell. “It will be a place where people can congregate with great energy and atmosphere and excellent food.”

Hot Betty’s has been a success because of the people who made it one, said Powell.

“I built it, and they made it. I don’t like giving myself a lot of credit,” she said. “We pay our people well and they stay. They love the environment. They love working here. And I want to try to create the same type of atmosphere, just a different concept.”

About Tucker House:

Tucker House has a long history. According to newspaper archives, Charles Ellery Britt, 76, did a head stand on the roof the day he finished building the yellow house in 1915 or 1916. Britt was the operator of a saw mill on Railroad Avenue, and sawed lumber at night by lantern light to build a school house on Main Street. He also built Britt’s Service Station, the first service station in Tucker. Britt was said to be the builder of 500 homes and businesses in Tucker.

According to former gift shop owner Brenda Alexander, Tucker House has been haunted by a ghost she dubbed “Mrs. Carter.” Alexander, with her colleagues Marylee Wooden and Tammy Lucia, experienced odd occurrences in the house. Lights blinked off and on like a trick. A door, known for being sticky, creaked open on its own. One morning Alexander entered the shop to find a fragile wreath on the floor, broken into four symmetrical pieces, far from its original display case.

Upstairs, Wooden saw a woman sitting in a rocking chair. The next day, Alexander was at Shops at Tucker House when the phone rang for the first time. (Until then, calls for the shop were going to her cell phone.) The caller asked to speak to Mrs. Carter, and Alexander told the caller she had the wrong number. It wasn’t until she hung up that Alexander realized it was just hours earlier that the group of friends had named the ghost Mrs. Carter.

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