Sunday, February 24, 2008

S & W Cafeteria **HALL OF FAME EATERY**



1913 photo of Frank Sherrill at his pre-S&W lunch counter restaurant in downtown Charlotte

1930's interior shot of the Trade St location

The building (since demolished) at 100 W Trade St that housed the S & W for almost fifty years




Above photos showing the S & W in downtown Asheville (opened in 1929) during the height of its operation (courtesy of an anonymous contributor)


Former S & W building in downtown Asheville as it looks today

March 1970 ad

November 1972 ad

1972 ad

Mid-'70's adJune 1975 ad

July 1976 ad

Mid-60's picture of the Charlottetown Mall location

1972 picture of the Charlottetown Mall location

1982 photo of the Park Rd location

1983 photo showing the renovation the then-closed Park Rd location

Original recipe for the famous S&W Custard Pie (courtesy of Heath Brown)


Recent picture of the former Park Rd location

It is said that Charlotte's modern restaurant history began with the opening of the first S & W Cafeteria on July 14, 1920 on W Trade St by Charlotteans Frank Odell Sherrill and Fred Weber. This would be followed by other locations at Park Rd Shopping Center (in 1958), at Charlottetown Mall (in 1959), and a fourth location at Freedom Village Mall in the 1960's. There were also many other locations throughout the Southeast.

The downtown location would operate until 1970 (the building that housed the cafeteria would be torn down in the mid-'80's), The Freedom Village and Charlottetown Mall locations would run through the '70's and the Park Rd Shopping Center location would close in January 1983. The building of the Park Rd location would operate as a Casa Gallardo for several years and most recently, has been home to several failed bar restaurants.


REVISIONS-- 8-2-2008

1976 photo of the Woodlawn Rd location


24 comments:

  1. The S&W in downtown Greensboro (c. 1951) was pretty amazing as well. It had a doorway opening into the adjacent Belk store. I think the Roanoke S&W (still standing, now a gym) had a similar configuration, although I guess it would have been "the adjacent Leggett store" in this case. Both had more of a modernist vibe than Charlotte's or Asheville's.

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  2. In Roanoke, S&W was adjacent to Heironimus, which was Roanoke's largest department store at the time. Leggett had a more modest location a couple blocks over on Campbell Avenue.

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  3. The Charlotte pictures were really nice, but the Asheville pictures kicked it up a notch! S&W had some really great buildings.

    Roanoke actually has two S&W buildings still standing. The oldest is at 412 South Jefferson Street and is now a men's clothing store. It was replaced by the one on Church Avenue next to Heironimus that Groceteria was talking about.

    I'm certain S&W had some suburban shopping mall locations outside Charlotte, but the only one I can verify is the one at Pittman Plaza in Lynchburg, Va. because of a picture I remember seeing of it back in college.

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  4. That is one very beautiful building~

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  5. The S&W was ubiquitous in Charlotte when I was a kid in the 60s and 70s. I ate at the Park Rd Shopping Center location at least once a week. There was also a great one in the old Charlottetown Mall. Plenty of memories -- of great food and Ernest on the Hammond Organ! Thanks for this FABULOUS blog!

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  6. The "new" Charlottetown Mall S&W pictures are fantastic. What a great place. I remember entering the S&W from those stairs and coming back down by Ivey's.
    The Park Road location was where we went the most often. That place was great.
    When you came into the lobby to get in line the ladies rest rooms were on that floor and the men's rest rooms were downstairs in the basement which also had signs for being a fallout shelter. Very cool 1960s stuff.

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  7. There is more S&W information on this page than there is on the entire rest of the internet. Thanks.

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  8. This is a great stuff Patrick. Keep up the good work. I have added your link to my blog, Richard.

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  9. I recall that going to the West
    Trade Street S&W in Charlotte was
    always a treat. This was in approximately 1955, and I always
    went with Grandmother. There was a fountain just inside the brass
    revolving door, with a ping-pong
    ball perched atop the water spout.
    Everytime we went there for lunch,
    I stole the ball.

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  10. These eating places were a treat for my family when I was a child. I found an article about the S&W Cafeterias on Wikipedia. The co-founders Frank Odell Sherrill (S)and Fred Weber (W) served together as mess sergeants in the First World War(according to the Wiki-article). As a kid, I knew Mr. Sherrill as "Franko" (apparently a nickname derived from his first name and middle initial). He lived in Flat Rock, NC after he retired. We lived on a small farm adjoining his property to the south. He also had a restaurant supply business known as Select Foods in Hendersonville, NC. Growing up, I thought he was the coolest guy in the world because he had a DC-3 and his own island in the Atlantic Ocean (Smith Island off the Carolina coast). The island is now a resort community known as "Bald Head".

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  11. My grandmother Lilly Webber Chandler was a sister of Frank Webber (not Fred as it is posted above), She was married to Hassell Lee Chandler who ran Chandler's restaurant in the Chapel Hill area until it was sold in the late 1940's.
    Lilly Webber was one of the ladies who used her baking skills to craft the many desserts that were popular through the years at S&W, she ran the Bakery at Chandler's for some time.
    After selling off their shares (along with Frank Webber who was bought out of S&W) and closing up Lilly and Hassell Chandler moved deep into to the Greenway Park section of farmland in Burlington, N.C. where they resided until Hassell Chandler passed on in November 1983. Lilly continued on until she was called to the Lord in June 1994.
    The entire family would always look forward to the Pound Cakes, Chess Pies, Custards, and whatever else my grandmother Lilly would make as we came up there for the holidays.
    She is surely missed.
    As a footnote,I(My Uncle and Aunt) Bill and Marilyn Chandler own the Donut Hole restaurants in Destin Beach Florida, and from what I understand my grandmother passed many recipes onto them as their business started up in the mid 1980's.

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    1. It was Fred Webber. Frank Sherrill was the S in S&W. Sorry for my mistake.

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  12. There was also a S & W at Cotswold Shopping Center on Randolph Rd. Cotswold opened in 1964. The S & W location later became Godfather's Pizza. I grew up with the S & W. In an antique store, I recently found an old S & W ash tray--now use it for spare change. What a great old institution, and what a shame it's gone.

    Brian D. Miller

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  13. I worked at the S&W in Asheville in 1969/70 as a manager trainee. Also worked in Greenville S.C. as an assistant manager at the Bell Tower site. Had the pleasure of touring Mr. Sherrill's DC-3. Great food and wonderful dedicated employees!

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  14. Confirming an earlier post about S & W suburban mall locations. I was born and raised in Lynchburg, Va. and yes, there was a wonderful S & W located (as correctly posted) at the Pittman Plaza, Lynchburg's first shopping center (not a mall, but a large "U" shaped strip style center) that opened in the very early 1960s. My family ate there often and I have fond memories of the absolutely best spoonbread on the planet from there. Great food and great memories of the S & W

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    1. Gary, I couldn't agree more! S&W's spoonbread was, to this day, the best food I have ever eaten!

      Pam B.

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  15. Today, my wife and I bought one of the third floor condos in the Asheville S&W Building. We plan to live there in retirement, moving from Libertyville, IL. Given that we knew nothing of the S&W history and traditions until two weeks ago, we are thrilled at being able to live in such a great building (where many of you have such fond memories, as expressed above, about S&W).

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  16. I went to Barium Springs Orphanage at age four and stayed 14 years.In the 1950's The Shriners would allow us to go to the Shrine Bowl football game each year and after the game we were guests of the S&W in town for supper.It was a fantastic experience for us to see how people "on the outside" lived and how they ate with real napkins and nice silverware. I still feel very grateful to the Shriners and to the S&W for those wonderful experiences.

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  17. Where can I find recipes from the S&W Cafeteria? I loved the spoonbread in the Roanoke, VA location and still think about it. That was about 60 years ago! Who would have the recipes?

    Pam B.

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    1. My Father was the Manager at Willow Lawn Cafeteria in Richmond Va. and he may still have this recipe.

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    2. Hi!

      Would your father be willing to share that spoonbread recipe with me? I love spoonbread and the best I've had was from the S&W Cafeteria in Roanoke. How can I get in touch with you?
      Pam B.

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  18. I grew up in Alexandria, VA in the 70's and remember going to the S&W location in Landmark Shopping Mall quite frequently as a kid.

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    1. S&W at Landmark on Saturday night was our family's tradition for my entire childhood (well, beginning when the Landmark Mall opened in 1965; I was 8 then). I loved the chopped steak, where the server would take the flat spatula and gather as much au jus from the pan as she could and pour it on the steak. Twice. Just wonderful. I went there for lunch later on - in the 1970's and early to mid 1980's. Their macaroni and cheese was awesome, too. They had this giant, just huge mural on the wall of the main dining room, kind of a pastoral scene. I think of S&W all the time and miss it badly. Lots of great family memories. Huge lines in the 1960's. Fantastic southern style cooking; perfect fried chicken. Green beans. I could go on and on.

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  19. My mother worked at the Park Road location from the late 50's through closing...would love some pics of the employees at Park Road...she is 84 now.

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