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Will Whitey's give way to Walgreens?

READ MORE: Will Whitey's give way to Walgreens?
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- One of the oldest restaurants in Wilmington could soon be destroyed and replaced with a corner drug store. Now some of Whitey's regulars wonder where they would meet in the mornings.

It's been around 56 years. It's a landmark in Wilmington. It brings the locals, the old timers, the people who have been coming in to get breakfast since the 1950s. Now Whitey's restaurant may get torn down, and in it's place: a Walgreens drugstore.

Joe Lewis has been coming to Whitey's since he was 16 years old. He and his wife drive 22 miles from Rocky Point every morning to eat breakfast. He says his tastes have changed over time.

"I didn't eat pancakes much back then," Lewis laughs, "but I'm tearing 'em up now."

Charlotte Rochelle comes in with her girlfriends a couple times a week.

"You hear all the gossip," she said. "You want to know what's going on."

But the Whitey's gang may soon have to find a new place to gather.

"You always wonder if you're doing the right thing or not," part owner Brian Prevatte said. "I think we are, but we haven't gotten that far yet. We're in the planning process."

The Prevatte family plans to lease the land to Walgreen's.

"Nothing goes on forever," Prevatte said. "The building is 56 years old. It's old. It needs a lot of repair."

He says the state is trying to expand Market Street and Kerr Avenuein the next year or two anyway, and the proposed right of way would go straight through the dining room.

"I hate to see this place go," Lewis said.

Said Rochelle, "Everbody's looking for a place to go, to find, where we can gather again."

And when the time comes for them to move on, the regulars will remember the good eating, the friends they made, the memories they shared and the place most couldn't leave without a hug.

The Prevatte family says there's no timeline or set date when Whitey's will get torn down. The plan still needs city approval. Until then, they're open for business, serving breakfast all day.

Brian Prevatte says when the El Berta Motel was torn down nextdoor, he found nearly all his employees other jobs, and he intends to do the same when Whitey's closes.

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Sad

My mother in law has known Whitey since her high school years they graduated high school together. This past November Whitey held the class reunion (again, as always). We spoke with Whitey in depth about the closing of the restuarant, he was very sad to see it go. I believe the real reason for the closing is because of lane expansion, not just the building of a new Walgreens. Cut Whitey a break he can't fight the times of change.

It's a business decision???

Are they that broke that they really need the money from Walgreens? It's always a great business decision to just tear down a landmark and put employees out of work right before the holidays, isn't it? hell I would run the place for FREE just to keep it open and to see the smiling faces of the locals. That's the problem, NO ONE cares about the locals and old timers anymore. It's all about tourist dollars and however to make a buck. That's the problem with America these days. there's no more pride in our heritage or landmarks that people cherish. the owners could care less about the people of this town or they wouldn't even consider tearing it down and letting a Walgreens go up in its place. I would rather just see green grass there than another Walgreens or any other drug store for that matter.

what a shame

Wilmington will not be the same without Whitey's. It really is an institution, not because of the building but because of the people who work there and the food they serve. You can't go anywhere else and get that feeling of being at home when you can't be with your own family.(Never mind getting a honestly good meal at a fair price.) You walk in and it feels like you walk back in time to when life was simpler and easier. Hopefully they will consider opening someting else near one of the other hotels they own in town, but probably not, when the older generations pass the torch it always either gets brighter or dims, and in this case it seems to be more about money not tradition.

History Blowing Away

Well, another landmark going to be history soon. Why is it that all the great places seem to disappear or go the way of the tide? Maybe the economy IS turing around if we get another WalGreens. Maybe Whitey's will move to another location close by and everyone will have someplace to go to.
Sorry to hear that it is even in the consideration to be done, but that's progress.

Guess none of you people

Guess none of you people have been to Whitey's lately. Everyone there looks ready to retire. They still have good food, and service. They just look like there all ready to lay down and push up flowers. Looks to me they been ready to get out of the business for some time. If you don't want to see the restaurant go away then make them a offer to buy the dilapidated place. You would then have to fix the rotten wood and all the other issues that come with it. If I was in the owners shoes guess I would had sold the property to Walgreen's too. You people got no clue what it takes to run a business. Guess you like the fact someone else is paying not you.

Arggh...

JUST what we need...we need another CVS or Walgreens about as much as the mall needs another jewelry or shoe store!

How Sad

I don't live in Wilmington any longer, but I was raised there my dad and I went to Whitey's all the time. All of my children have been as have countless thousands maybe even millions over the years. I still remember Whitey himself in there everyday and he was just as likely to take your order or clean a table as anyone who worked for him. How sad it would be for such a place to be torn down to make room for yet another drugstore. If for some reason this has to happen I hope the Prevatte family will build it back in another location. Sure it won't be the same, but you will still get the same good service, food and family feeling you always have over the years. This is the way Whitey operates and that will never change.

Need?

Do we NEED another Walgreens? Or any other drug store for that matter...

It's a business decision...

pure and simple. If Walgreens is willing to pay the lease cost for the land and/or building, it's a decision for the current owners to make. Whether Wilmington "needs" another Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid is a topic for another discussion. The Prevatte family owns the land and is free to do whatever they want with it as long as it fits the zoning currently in place.