Mention Paradise Chinese Restaurant, The Hot Shot, or The Silver Dollar and folks of a certain age (including yours truly) can wax eloquent on southern-fried chicken at the Paradise or after-the-bars-closed biscuits and gravy breakfasts at the Hot Shot. I think I might have enjoyed the menu in the paneled interior of Jimmie’s Waffle Shop if I had been living in Asheville in the 1950’s.
Greek-born James Keritsis arrived in Asheville in 1941 via Wilmington, North Carolina with his brother George. They eventually purchased the Gross Restaurant on Pack Square and operated together until 1947.
In 1947 James opened his own business at 76 Haywood Street. The space had variously housed business such as the Tarheel Library and Commercial Credit. The Asheville Citizen Times solicited congratulatory advertisements from companies who provided goods or services to new businesses. A half or even full page of those advertisements heralded opening day.
Jimmie’s Waffle Shop closed in 1961 when Mr. Keritsis retired. James and his wife Louise lived on Murdock Avenue in 1949, moved to 151 Barnard Avenue in 1955, and lived there until his death in 1967.
In his obituary I found out that he was a member of Amity Lodge No. 340 and Knight’s Templar Commandery No. 10 in Florence, S.C. He was also a member of Ionic Council No. 9, Royal and Select Masons, the Order of Aphea , and Lodge No. 1401 Benevolent Protective Order of the Elk, as well as a member of the Asheville Shrine Club. No doubt he was proud of this last membership. Just look at the photo I discovered in a group of photographs of conventioneers in Asheville. If you can see beyond the sea of fezzes you’ll spy a neon sign.
Other business –including The Flying Frog restaurant- operated in the building until its demolition in March of 2014.
Posted by Terry Taylor, Friends of the North Carolina Room Board Member