Winnie’s Tavern going strong for 60 years

Picture Winnies
Credit: Annick Joseph | WWAY

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Four generations have kept one Wilmington burger restaurant going strong for sixty years.

Winnie’s Tavern started in 1957 as Winnie’s Drive-in on North Dawson Street, five years later, Winnie Swanson shut down the drive-in, and bought a trailer park and tavern, according to Wendy Fincher-Hughes.

“My mother helped my grandmother, then I helped my grandmother, then my kids helped me,” she said.

Located near the state port, and offered a pool table and a good burger.

“When I first got my driver’s license, I come to see my grandmom, and there would be no cars,” according to Fincher-Hughes.

However, when she opened the doors, the place was filled with shipyard workers, sailors, and locals whom they fed for years.

They continue to serve their local community and people all over the world, according to Fincher-Hughes.

“We were featured on a national cooking show,” said Fincher-Hughes, “So, people come from all over.”

The old décor and pool table no longer exists, but the good burgers remain.

Brant Barnwell Jr. has been has frequented the establishment for more than 20 years.

“Well they’re hand pattied, they have all sorts of toppings, they got a nice bun, I just like everything about them,” he said.

Gabrielle Moore and her coworker Brandy Pertelle also made a stop for the burgers.

“They’re juicy, they’re warm, it’s just good quality meat,” said Moore.

“Great meat,” said Pertelle.

Winnie’s Tavern is known for more than just burgers, it was the location in the 1986 movie ‘Blue Velvet’.

“There’s a nostalgic aspect to the business myself and my children want to see it grow,” said Fincher-Hughes.

Fincher-Hughes and her family want the business to stick around for another 60 years.

Winnie’s Tavern staff said they’re grateful for their loyal customer and welcome any newcomers to the Cape Fear to stop by and get a bite to eat.

They’re open Monday thru Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed on Sundays.

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