Early '70's photo
For 27 years, Stamey's was a downtown fixture at 841 N. Tryon St. It was opened on September 9, 1957 by John Stamey. A year later he would be joined by his brother Ben and Ben's wife, Ruth. The restaurant was popular for its country breakfasts and home-cooked entrees. At breakfast, people would line up for Stamey's grits and hash-browned potatoes. Lunch and dinner would bring out the North Carolina country ham plate with natural gravy, the homebaked corn sticks, and a multitude of fresh vegetables. Its regulars ranged from downtown workers to a menagerie of Charlotte's public figures.
John and Ben had begun their restaurant careers at the start of the '50's when they co-managed the legendary Drum Restaurant in Charlotte's Dilworth neighborhood. When they opened Stamey's, they bought dinnerware that matched the dinnerware at the Drum in case the restaurant failed and they had to return to the Drum.
Originally Stamey's was both a sit-down restaurant and a drive-in restaurant with curb service. They served home-cooking indoors and fast-food fare outdoors. The interior was very unusual. There was a large "Jesus Saves" neon-sign on one wall and the menu boasted prayers for Catholics, Jews, and Protestants. The Stamey's also listed their life's mission on the menu--"to serve the Lord and all hungry customers". The restaurant boasted three dining rooms--the front room with booths and a lunch counter, and two rooms in the back with wood paneled walls and tables.
John and Ben would run the restaurant until their deaths in the late-70's. Ruth would continue at the helm until Stamey's close on March 30, 1984.