Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Hungry Fisherman










The closed sign from 1993

1972 fire--nice look at the sign designed for boaters

1972 fire


Eastway location with its signature rooftop lighthouse

1982 patch


1975 menu

1976 want ad

1976 ad

1985 ad


1985 ad


Original matchbook (courtesy of Harmon Jolley)


Charlotte has always had a love-affair with fish camps. Opened in 1969, the Hungry Fisherman was one of Charlotte's favorites. Located on Lake Wylie at the foot of the Buster Boyd Bridge (just south of Charlotte), the Hungry Fisherman was popular for both its famous seafood as well as for its scenic lakefront view. 

The Hungry Fisherman was owned operated by TPL Restaurants Inc. They also owned the area Shoney's Big Boy and Captain D's restaurants. The Lake Wylie location was their first Hungry Fisherman, with over 15 added eventually throughout the Southeast. Included in their expansion would be a location at the Eastway Shopping Center in the 1980's. Many people remember this location with its signature working lighthouse on the top of the building. 

The Lake Wylie location was unique for its above-water building design. The building was supported by about 100 pilings and rested 12 feet above the water. It seated 500 and its nautical theme, complete with clipper models, harpoons and ship barometers, filled every nook and cranny. Diners could arrive by car or by boat. Since it was located in SC, it was one of the only area restaurants for many years where you could order a mixed drink (Charlotte did not allow liquor-by-the-drink until 1978). The restaurant even survived a devastating fire in 1972. 

The Hungry Fisherman would close in February 1993. Increased competition from neighboring restaurants and fast food outlets had taken their toll and business had declined. The building is owned by Duke Power and is currently the home to T-Bones Steakhouse.



22 comments:

  1. What about Limeburger's...world's greatest candy counter from what I remember!!

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  2. Lineberger's did have a great candy counter!

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  3. I figured I was misspelling it...regardless...whistle pops for everyone!

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  4. Wow...we had one of these in Atlanta near where I grew up, too (Marietta in the ad above), and I'll be darned if it didn't have a fire as well! Something seems a little fishy to me...

    Bah-dum-dum -- thank you folks, I'm here all week.

    Actually, the part about the fire at the one in Atlanta was serious -- it would have been about 1983 or 1984.

    I remember that little guy used in their logo...for some reason I think I had a fork or something that they used to give out with his impression on it. I liked the place, from what I remember of it, and can remember being sad we couldn't go there anymore when it closed, which I believe was a result of their not rebuilding after the fire.

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  5. Hey Matt, I loved going to the one in Marietta back in the 1970's, early 1980's. Was the fire the reason that the Marietta location closed? I can't remember what happened.

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  6. I remember well the Stone Mountain, GA location. My family ate there all the time in the early-mid 80's, and we hated to see it go. Very scenic location, nice views of the mountain across a small lake.

    I also recall eating at the Columbia location in the early 90's, when it was still a HF (it closed shortly thereafter). Another scenic dinner spot, right on the Congaree River.

    I'm guessing that all HF's were located on a lake/river of some sort?

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  7. They had a location near Birmingham, AL in the Riverchase area. It was a really fun restaurant with a maratime themed playground and a great scenic lakefront view. You could rent paddleboats on the premisis and the decor inside was great. As you walked in the front entrance you could look up at the inside of a big wooden lighthouse. Lot's of great childhood memories.

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  8. Maybe what this country needs someone to bring this concept back. It was adult and family friendly. You always felt like you were on a vacation. Maybe with people not looking to travel as much this could be an adventure. Mind you everything we loved about this place should stay the same. Even the menu. It just seemed timeless. It all stamped wonderful memories in us right???

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  9. I just revisted the Lake Wylie location this weekend. Although it is a T-bones Steak restaurnt now with different decor, the structure is the same. I had so many great memories of going there with my family back in the 70's and 80's. It really felt like we were on a mini vacation. My best memory was waiting for what seemed like an hour to get in to this place on a busy Friday night. We could feed the catfish in the lake and ride paddle boats. This catfish were HUGE! Thanks for posting this blog...many great memories!

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  10. Man, I don't think I've thought about Hungry Fisherman or Lineberger's in 25 years. I loved those places.

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  11. I worked at The Hungry Fisherman in Stone Mountain, Georgia for 1 year.
    Would love to get in touch with some people I worked with.

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  12. Back during the 1980s, there was a Hungry Fisherman Restaurant in Nashville, Tn. I recall going a few times and hands down, it was the best seafood I ever had!!! It was also alot of fun to go out on the back deck and feed the ducks and fish that were in the pond! Good times!! I miss the place and wish they would reopen the chain!!

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  13. one of My first jobs wasn at the hungry fisherman in the 1970's in Chattanooga, Tn. (East Ridge, Tn.)I think that store lasted about 10 years or less, at that time it was one fo the best seafood restaurants in Chattanooga, Tn. besides Red Lobster!

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  14. Exactly...going to the Hungry Fisherman in the early 80's was like going on a mini-vacation to this 8-year-old. I remember it well and still miss it! I need to invent a time machine...

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  15. I, too, remember going to the Hungry Fisherman right across the buster boyd bridge in SC. What a treat it was to eat there with my family. We even went there for my 16th bd. LOL And one of my memories included that wonderful complimentary lemon ice in a cone that everyone got before leaving. Miss this place.....and Lineburger's (with that endlss candy counter) in Belmont, too.

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  16. I worked at the Hungry Fisherman in Charlotte (Eastway and Central) from '81 until '86 and it was the best time of my life! Lots of fun people and good food. Anyone else??? Wish I could track down some of those folks.

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  17. I ate at the one on Lake Wylie for my 16th birthday, too! When I lived on Central, my friends and I would go to the one at Eastway and Central. The first time I ate raw oysters was there. Good food.

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  18. As a kid in the late 1970's our Indian Guides group would spend a weekend at Camp Thunderbird. Saturday night dinner was always at The Hungry Fisherman. Great memories!

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  19. As a kid, I loved going to the HF on Eastway. We went there quite a bit. I still remember the bathroom signs, which I thought were funny as kid, "bouys" and "gulls"

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  20. I was fishing with my dad and siblings off of the pier at The Hungry Fisherman in 1982. We didn't have a license, so the Game Warden arrested my dad. Sadly, I never got to eat there, but it sure smelled good outside. :)

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  21. I worked at the Eastway Dr. location in the mid-'80s (while in high-school), keeping that gigantic salad-boat full every night! I think that's when i fell in love with the restaurant business. <3

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  22. I was at NYer at Pfeiffer U. in 1977 when a friend suggested the Hungry. I still think about all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp! The pier scenery was perfect. Those busy waitress's just piling little baskets of shrimp in front of you. A pitcher of beer cost more than the meal... and just got in the way. Sad to see it closed. Thanks for the article and memories.

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