I started the Coach4aday blog in 2014 and have done daily posts on one topic for each year. In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and in 2017 it was “Colleges and Universities”.
The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.
So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist. I write the posts on odd-numbered days each month and John handles the even-numbered days.
In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.
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My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.
John’s twitter handle is @johnrancke if you want to reach out to him.
March 16, 2018 Darryl’s Restaurants
Post by John Rancke
Customers always want to know if there’s a real-life Darryl. There is. However, although the Darryl’s chain carried the name of but one man, “Darryl’s” was the brainchild of three men: Thad Eure, Jr., Charles Winston, and the restaurant’s namesake, Darryl Davis.
Mr. Eure and Mr. Winston were early entrepreneurs and business partners who established the Angus Barn restaurant on a lonely highway corridor halfway between Raleigh and Durham in 1960. The general consensus among the business and restaurant community was that The Angus Barn would fail. Who was going to drive out to the middle of nowhere just to eat?
The two men proved their instincts were correct, however, when The Angus Barn, with its antiques, artifacts and high-end menu, quickly became recognized as one of the finest restaurants in the South, and was eventually recognized as one of the best 100 restaurants in America.
While The Angus Barn was successful beyond all expectations, its appeal was targeted toward an affluent patron seeking a fine dining experience. Eure and Winston wanted to reach out to a broader market.
They found themselves partnering with Darryl Davis, a flamboyant local personality who ran a Pizza Inn on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. The three men formed DEW (Davis, Eure & Winston) and established successful Pizza Inn franchises throughout Wake and surrounding counties.
One night at the original Pizza Inn on Hillsborough Street, the three men sat down over pizza and beer and sketched out on a napkin their idea for a casual dining restaurant. Pizza, burgers and beer would be menu mainstays. Fun, value, and hospitality would be the goals. And the décor would be something never before seen. Eure and Winston, along with their wives, were collectors of all things unique: elevators, Ferris wheel seats, gas lights, jail cells, cast iron spiral staircases, barrels, musical instruments, abandoned cars and double-decker buses, two-story chandeliers… where other people saw junk, they saw history. All they lacked was the proper venue in which to display it.
And so the idea of Darryl’s was born. DEW bought retail space next to the 42-seat Pizza Inn on Hillsborough Street and converted the end block into the first Darryl’s restaurant.
How did Davis’ name end up on the restaurant? College kids in the area already referred to the Pizza Inn on Hillsborough Street as Darryl’s, the three owners figured they’d just go with what was there. The die was cast and Darryl’s 1906 Restaurant and Tavern debuted in November of 1971.
We would journey over from Chapel Hill at least every two weeks to partake of the food fare in the Circus Room as one of the rooms was called.
Although the restaurant was aimed at the general population, the owners assumed the bulk of their business would come from the students at N.C. State University, located across the street. Soon, however, they discovered they had a much broader following. Lines on weekends typically snaked around the block and customers bombarded the doors, night after night.
But it wasn’t just college kids. It was 20 and 30 year olds. Young families trying to get into the best casual restaurant in town.
Darryl’s 1906 was so successful, the owners immediately decided to open another one. A new Pizza Inn franchise was being built on Highway 70 and was three quarters of the way complete with the Pizza Inn sign already in place. Eure and Winston ripped down the sign and reconfigured the space, turning it into Darryl’s1849 on Glenwood Avenue.
When Pam and I lived in Zebulon back in the late 70s, it was almost a weekly Friday night adventure to Darryl’s 1849 on Glenwood Ave AKA Highway 70. Billy and Carolyn Bunn with Chris and Amy and Kay and Dale Beck with Richard, Joe, and Josh and Pam and I.
Did we want Adam’s Beef Ribs (6) or Eve’s Beef Ribs (4)? I hate difficult questions!! Adam’s always won. Huge, reminded me of Fred and Barney eating ribs on The Flintstones, when the car overturns because of the weight of the ribs.
From there, the chain kept growing. The third Darryl’s opened in Greenville, NC and the fourth on Church Street in Greensboro. Highway 15-501 AKA the Durham- Chapel Hill Blvd had one. Fayetteville had one out near Cross Creek Mall.
Bus at Durham NC location of Darryl’s
We went to Disney World in the mid-90s and ate at a Darryl’s in Kissimmee Florida. It was Darryl’s 1901 (named for the year Walt Disney was born). All of the Darryl’s had a year behind them signifying a special person or date. It was awful.
By then the chain was owned by Gilber/Robinson out of Kansas City, the home company for Houlihans Restaurants. The beef ribs were gone and had been replaced by pork ribs. Talk about disappointed. If I wanted pork ribs we would have gone to O’Briens (remember them).
So the 3 original owners sold the chain to General Mills who then turned it over to the Kansas City crew. And that was the end of a great thing. Unfortunately!!
However, there is a one remaining Darryl’s Restaurant remaining. It’s in Greensboro on High Point Road. I’ve been assured it has beef ribs. Gonna go find out.
There was a Pizza Inn in Raleigh just off Lake Boone Trail Rd. Pam worked off Lake Boone Trail Rd. Every Tuesday night that I wasn’t in the gym or on the ballfield I would drive into Raleigh and we would have all you can eat beef ribs at that Pizza Inn, the same exact ribs offered at Darryl’s.
Darryl’s also served some outstanding Pina Coladas. Just creamy!! Want to know their secret ingredient. Vanilla Ice Cream– Try it sometime at home.
•1970 – Darryl’s founded
•1980 – Sold to General Mills, Inc.
•1984 – Thad Eure resigns
•1985 – GM sells its 27 Darryl’s restaurants to W.R. Grace & Co. Inc of NY, a chemical manufacturer and owner of Houlihan’s Old Place and El Torita Mexican restaurants. Darryl’s then became a part of Gilber-Robinson.
•1989 – Two east coast businessmen, Philip Pilvesky and Arthur G. Cohen, win control of the chain in a leveraged buyout of Houlihan’s and Darryl’s
•1990-91 – the company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganizes
•1998 – Restaurateur Dan Scoggin leads an investment group to take over Houlihan’s Restaurant Group and becomes CEO
•2000 – The original Darryl’s fails a health inspection and is forced to close. The restaurant reopens after a $75,000 renovation
•2002 – Houlihan’s Restaurant Group filed for Chapter 11
•2003 – Hillsborough street Darryl’s closes
•2010 – Last remaining Darryl’s restaurant purchased by Kotis Properties
Kotis Properties has done some amazing things with restaurants in Greensboro and other retail spaces including Marshall Free House. I just hope they have the beef ribs at Darryl’s.
Marshall Free House and Marty Kotis depicted below. Story on what he has done in Greensboro is at link below the photos.