From February 1983 came news of the "restaurant of the future". Space Stations was to include "Space Cadet" servers in space-themed outfits, robots serving drinks, and a "Refuse Robot" trash can that said "thank you" when used. Alas, the concept never came to be and Charlotte was left wondering what dining in the future would really be like...
Sunday, July 24, 2011
The Drum as it appeared in 1948
The Drum as it appeared in the 1980's
The Drum shortly after closing (note the "Drum" rising in the center)
The current eatery has a raised patio which gives a great view of the "drum"
The Drum Restaurant was located at 1520 East Blvd. and was opened in 1948 by Wad Smith. When the restaurant was first built, it was round and decorated like a drum. The original set-up included a lunch counter, two tables, four booths, and car-hop curb service. In 1955, it was enlarged to include 15 booths and in 1961, 10 additional booths were added. Curb service continued until 1968. Over time with the enlarging of the restaurant, the original drum structure was built around and was only visible along the roof-line.
Wad's son, Larry, began working at The Drum in 1960, became manager in 1973, and ultimately took over all operations in 1976 when his dad retired.
The concept of The Drum changed very little over the years. Consistently offering home-style cooked meats and vegetables along with daily prepared pies. The menu also offered king mackerel and black bass caught by Wad himself.
The Drum would run for 47 years finally closing on June 28, 1995 after the lunch service. The building has housed several restaurants over the years of varying success. The one constant is the visible drum still rising above the restaurant---a forever symbol of old Charlotte at its finest.