WILMINGTON — Our readers responded in a big way to the Throwback Thursday photo (News Journal, July 12) in which we reached out to you to find out where the 1966 photo was taken.
Many recognized it as where Brausch Brewery is now located, on South South Street (US 68) in Wilmington.
Charleen Zurface of Wilmington said, “I worked there during that year as I completed high school. It was owned by a man who also owned a company called Fred’s Mushrooms. …The manager was Mr. Ron Brill.”
She said it was the old Stacey’s Buffet and, “If my mind serves me right, it was later renamed Fred’s steak house.”
“They had a coffee shop dinette setting in the front and served a buffet and alcohol in the back while it was Blue Grass, and as Fred’s. The food was excellent really. Then it was sold to Duff’s and has since been many names.”
Dolly Black of Wilmington said she was hired as one of the first carhops and worked as a cashier on Sundays when she was 14. Black remembers when it changed from the Blue Grass Restaurant to Frost Top Root Beer.
“A lot of beautiful memories came back,” said Black.
She was hired after she helped out the night the Martinsville High School basketball team was celebrating a major win.
“I said I’ll take all their orders because I knew all the people,” said Black.
She remembers them setting up one of the first carhop stations there and learning how to perform the tasks needed, like attaching the tray to the car.
Among the stories she remembered include when a Texan came up asking for a “smorgasbord” which she thought meant a cigar, since he was smoking one. Later, the Texan’s wife said he meant the Sunday buffet they had.
“They gave me a $5 tip. Now, let me know something, a $5 tip back then was like a $50 tip today,” she said.
Among other colorful customers, she encountered the King of the Cowboys — Roy Rogers — and Oscar-winning actor Yul Brynner, who gave signed placemats for all the helpers that day.
Carol DeFayette also recalls the Blue Grass Restaurant. It had a horse theme decor, she said, noting that went along with its name.
“It was really nice — good food, reasonable prices,” said DeFayette.
There was a very small dance floor, she added, and there were live bands there sometimes.
Gordon Bosier came in person to the News Journal offices Thursday and said when he saw the photo, his first thought was this is the location of Duff’s Smorgasbord — that is, the South South Street site where Brausch Brewery now is located.