For 37 years—from 1940 to
1977—Gaither’s Restaurant, also known as ‘The Grill’, ‘Gaither’s Grill’ or
simply, ‘Gaither’s’, offered tasty food and good cheer to Western North
Carolinians. Owned and operated by James “Jimmy” C. Gaither of Statesville, NC,
and later on, his wife Addie Boykin of Middlesex, NC (they married in 1958),
Gaither’s still holds the record of being the longest continually operating
restaurant in downtown Brevard. In a 1972 interview with The Transylvania
Times, Jimmy Gaither, who by then was an established figure in the local food
business, shared his motivation for opening the restaurant: “Surveys showed
that Brevard was the fastest growing town in WNC then. The Ecusta plant was
just getting into operation, Brevard was bound to grow—so we opened [Gaither’s]
in the same building we’re in now.”

Photo negative of Gaither’s Restaurant on South Broad Street, 1958

Today, Gaither’s former locale is
occupied by Bracken Mountain Bakery. That site was 34 South Broad Street (42
South Broad Street today), which served as the restaurant’s home for most of
its history. Initially, Gaither’s occupied a space at 32 South Broad Street,
and it was also for a brief time located on Main Street.

Gaither’s was a diner-style
restaurant, considered the first “modern” restaurant in the area at the time.
It was known for its burgers, steaks, sandwiches and pie. At first, Gaither’s
offered a typical diner or cafeteria-style service, but after Jimmy Gaither
purchased the (previously leased) property on South Broad Street, the
restaurant expanded to include a banquet facility for up to 100 people (called
the Rhododendron Room) and a group meeting room (called the Dogwood Room) on
the second floor. The classic diner experience was still available on the first
floor.

Front of “A Christmas Menu” by Addie and Jimmy Gaither

Due to its spaciousness and
location, Gaither’s was, for many years, a very popular meeting space for local
civic clubs, such as the Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Jaycees, and the BP&W (Business
Professional Women’s) Club. It was the venue of choice for many business functions,
private parties, as well as large holiday celebrations. In Ecusta’s Echo
magazine many celebrations were recorded as having taken place at Gaither’s
Rhododendron Room. From employee baby showers to bowling team victory steak
suppers, to Brevard Camera Club award banquets, to ”C” Shift gala parties that
included games and movie-watching, many good times were had at Gaither’s, and
many Transylvanians have fond memories of the place.

The Gaither family contributed a great deal to the food and cultural heritage of Transylvania County residents for nearly four decades. Gaither’s restaurant is still missed today—especially around the holidays.

Inside of “A Christmas Menu” by Addie and Jimmy Gaither, undated

Photographs and information for
this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania
County Library. This article was written by Anne-Monique Ransdell. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room
staff at 
[email protected] or 828-884-1820.

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212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712