Bakersville has had a fair share of eating establishments over the years. The first were probably the dining rooms of the two hotels in town. Among standalones in the 1940’s was Mike White’s Café, located where the Bakersville Town Hall is today. Wash Sparks’ Café was located on the corner where Hwy 226 turns toward Toecane and Hwy 261 heads up to the Roan. Can you imagine parking if it were there today? Another Sparks, Eli, sold sandwiches in his grocery located on the park side of the N. Mitchell Avenue bridge. Helen’s Restaurant was an early drive-in and remains a town icon today. Then there was the Rhododendron Café on Main Street in the 1960’s where the Staunton Law Office is today.
Directly across the street, where the Mitchell County Public Library is located today, from 1935 to 1940, Frank and Elma Wilson, shown in the photo along with a staff person, ran what most called simply “The Café.” Elma went on to be a successful and much loved head of the Bowman School Cafeteria, where especially the Lion’s Club for years enjoyed her evening meals with their monthly meetings. Today Bakersville boasts of zero chain-owned but four locally-owned eating places with another nearby in Loafers Glory. The Mitchell County Historical Society is beginning a project to document all of the restaurants/eating places that have come, gone, and stayed in Mitchell County over the years. If you have a picture or know of one, especially from the early 1900’s or before, let us know. Please contact the Mitchell County Historical Society at 828-688-4371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.