LITTLE ACORN RESTAURANT

/sites/default/files/images/2008_7/LittleAcorn.jpglittleacorn_front_1950s.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2008_7/littleacorn_1950s.jpglittleacorn_ne_032549.jpglittleacorn_interior_032549.jpg

LITTLE ACORN RESTAURANT

706
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1940
/ Demolished in
1970s-1980s
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

Comments

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 12:07pm

    Was the building replaced or was it just extensively renovated? It looks to be a similar size and shape, but the grading looks less sloped.

  • Submitted by Gary on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 12:19pm

    Anon

    I looked at this for quite awhile, because I thought it might be possible that it was just blasted with an 80s gun. But it appears from comparing old aerials to new that this building is further north than the original, so I concluded that it was a teardown and replace

  • Submitted by a. librarian on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 12:38pm

    I remember eating at a "Little Acorn" restaurant on Hillendale Rd., near Carver St., in the 70's and 80's. I wonder if they just moved from downtown to the 'burbs? I'll check the City Directories when I get to work today and see if the same people owned the Hillendale Rd. establishment.

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 12:54pm

    I think the business moved, with out the original owners, out to Guess Road. That building, vacant now still exists.

    The Roycrofts still live in Durham.

    lwn

  • Submitted by a. librarian on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 5:29pm

    Now that I'm at work and have done a little research... The Royster's "The Little Acorn" last shows up in the city directory in 1971. There is no restaurant listings for any "acorn restaurant" until 1977, when "The Acorn Restaurant" is listed at 3311 Guess Rd. (Not Hillendale as I typed earlier - coffee hadn't kicked in yet!) with the Roysters as owners.

    Also from 1972-1976, 706 Rigsbee is listed as 'vacant' or has no listing at all. In 1977 is listed as "Durham Cablevision". I stopped looking at the 1980 directory, so I don't know when it may have next changed businesses. I also can't tell from the City Directories if the Durham Cablevision building is the same as the Little Acorn building.

  • Submitted by JHE3 on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 12:30am

    As stated previously in the comments on another post, I currently live in the home owned by Robert Roycroft while he ran the Little Acorn.

    I have done a bit of research myself, and I learned that per the 1971 Directory, Robert is listed as 'retired', and in 1973 his wife Virginia is listed as 'widow Robt. W.'

    I also see in my notes that the Little Acorn was sold in 1970 to Wilbur P. Davis, Jr.

    I'd love to find out more about the story of Robert and Virginia, hopefully some readers of this blog could either add to my knowledge or put me in touch with their family.

    - Jack

  • Submitted by Gary on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 12:17pm

    a. librarian

    Thanks so much for your additional research - I really appreciate it.

    JHE3

    Thanks for the additional info (again) about the Roycrofts - there was a bit more personal info about Robert (including his home address) in the source I took the restaurant description from. Shoot me an email, and I'll send it to you.

    GK

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 3, 2008 - 12:01am

    Earl Roycroft, whose father started the business, still lives on Randolph Road in Durham. He should be able to give you lots of information about the Little Acorn.

    GK

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Saturday, September 27, 2008 - 8:31pm

    Robert Wallace Roycroft died on 30 Jan, 1972 at age 53 and was buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park. His death certificate lists his occupation as "Owner/Operator Little Acorn Resturant".

  • Submitted by RandyR on Thursday, October 2, 2008 - 12:28am

    The Little Acorn was owned by Robert and his wife Virginia as well as Robert's brother Joe and his wife Nellie.
    Robert's son Earl opened the Acorn Family Restaurant on Guess Rd. He still ives in Durham.
    I am one of Earl's 3 sons.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane...

  • Submitted by Islander on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 2:00am

    I remember going there with my parents in the 1960's -prior to being a teen. As a kid, I was fascinated by the lava lamp on a shelf on the back wall. Seems like it was orange.

  • Submitted by all4boys4me on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 2:00am

    @ Randy...I'm Kim Williams. My father ran The Acorn with you father Roy. I have many fond memories of the restaurant and you boys.

  • Submitted by gladstone harrison on Monday, January 27, 2014 - 9:23pm

    Our family dined at the Little Acorn several times while my brother attended Duke University. This Yankee was introduced to hush puppies there! What a treat!

  • Submitted by Dirk Lucas on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - 6:17am

    I can remember sitting out side waiting on my mother who was a waitress there in the late 60's and eary 70's . She would alway bring us out something to eat and I so remember the choclate pie as it was so good . She went on to be the owner operater of the White Oak Resthome in Hillborough .

    I will never forget those hot summer nites sitting out back . My mother Betty Jean Lucas passed on Novenber the 16 of 2016 .

    She really thought alot of the Roycrofts .

     

  • Submitted by scwilliams on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 7:26pm

    I have six wall size paintings that hung in this restaurant painted by Buck Hester. My Dad got them when the restaurant was being demolished. I am trying to locate info on them as to dispose of them as part of my parents eatate. Any hep is appreciated 

  • Submitted by luketheplumber9... on Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 1:59pm

    can you post some pictures of them

  • Submitted by luketheplumber9... on Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 2:02pm

    I bet the family comes through this page every few months posting pictures would certainly help

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In tours

  • This building does not appear in any tours yet.

Last updated

  • Fri, 05/30/2014 - 5:55pm by gary

Location

36° 0' 9.1224" N, 78° 53' 58.1496" W

Comments

706
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1940
/ Demolished in
1970s-1980s
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

The Little Acorn restaurant was started in 1940 by Robert Roycroft. Like many of the eating establishments that lined Rigsbee Ave. and Morgan St., the Little Acorn catered to businesses in and patrons of the warehouse district, but it appears to have had far wider appeal as well. Per a 1951 writeup, the Little Acorn

"[was] one the most modernly equipped establishments of its kind in Durham. ... Private dining rooms [were] maintained for parties and banquets. They specialize[d] in pit-cooked barbecue, brunswick stew, Southern-style fried chicken, and sea foods [sic]."

littleacorn_front_1950s.jpg

(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

03.25.49

(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

littleacorn_ne_032549.jpg

03.25.49
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

littleacorn_interior_032549.jpg

03.25.49

(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

littleacorn_int2_032549.jpg

03.25.49

(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

littleacorn_kitchen_032549.jpg

03.25.49

(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

littleacorn_pit_032549.jpg

03.25.49

(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

littleacorn_RR_032549.jpg

03.25.49

(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

Little Acorn ad in 1959 Durham City Directory.


A glimpse of the Little Acorn behind a car-carrier that lost a car, looking southeast, 07.29.69.
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

It appears that the Little Acorn closed in the 1970s, although I don't have an exact date. It appears to have been torn down by the 1980s and replaced with a very bland single-story commercial structure.


Looking east-northeast, 06.08.08

36.002534 -78.899486

Comments

Was the building replaced or was it just extensively renovated? It looks to be a similar size and shape, but the grading looks less sloped.

Anon

I looked at this for quite awhile, because I thought it might be possible that it was just blasted with an 80s gun. But it appears from comparing old aerials to new that this building is further north than the original, so I concluded that it was a teardown and replace

I remember eating at a "Little Acorn" restaurant on Hillendale Rd., near Carver St., in the 70's and 80's. I wonder if they just moved from downtown to the 'burbs? I'll check the City Directories when I get to work today and see if the same people owned the Hillendale Rd. establishment.

I think the business moved, with out the original owners, out to Guess Road. That building, vacant now still exists.

The Roycrofts still live in Durham.

lwn

Now that I'm at work and have done a little research... The Royster's "The Little Acorn" last shows up in the city directory in 1971. There is no restaurant listings for any "acorn restaurant" until 1977, when "The Acorn Restaurant" is listed at 3311 Guess Rd. (Not Hillendale as I typed earlier - coffee hadn't kicked in yet!) with the Roysters as owners.

Also from 1972-1976, 706 Rigsbee is listed as 'vacant' or has no listing at all. In 1977 is listed as "Durham Cablevision". I stopped looking at the 1980 directory, so I don't know when it may have next changed businesses. I also can't tell from the City Directories if the Durham Cablevision building is the same as the Little Acorn building.

As stated previously in the comments on another post, I currently live in the home owned by Robert Roycroft while he ran the Little Acorn.

I have done a bit of research myself, and I learned that per the 1971 Directory, Robert is listed as 'retired', and in 1973 his wife Virginia is listed as 'widow Robt. W.'

I also see in my notes that the Little Acorn was sold in 1970 to Wilbur P. Davis, Jr.

I'd love to find out more about the story of Robert and Virginia, hopefully some readers of this blog could either add to my knowledge or put me in touch with their family.

- Jack

a. librarian

Thanks so much for your additional research - I really appreciate it.

JHE3

Thanks for the additional info (again) about the Roycrofts - there was a bit more personal info about Robert (including his home address) in the source I took the restaurant description from. Shoot me an email, and I'll send it to you.

GK

Earl Roycroft, whose father started the business, still lives on Randolph Road in Durham. He should be able to give you lots of information about the Little Acorn.

GK

Robert Wallace Roycroft died on 30 Jan, 1972 at age 53 and was buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park. His death certificate lists his occupation as "Owner/Operator Little Acorn Resturant".

The Little Acorn was owned by Robert and his wife Virginia as well as Robert's brother Joe and his wife Nellie.
Robert's son Earl opened the Acorn Family Restaurant on Guess Rd. He still ives in Durham.
I am one of Earl's 3 sons.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane...

I remember going there with my parents in the 1960's -prior to being a teen. As a kid, I was fascinated by the lava lamp on a shelf on the back wall. Seems like it was orange.

@ Randy...I'm Kim Williams. My father ran The Acorn with you father Roy. I have many fond memories of the restaurant and you boys.

Our family dined at the Little Acorn several times while my brother attended Duke University. This Yankee was introduced to hush puppies there! What a treat!

I can remember sitting out side waiting on my mother who was a waitress there in the late 60's and eary 70's . She would alway bring us out something to eat and I so remember the choclate pie as it was so good . She went on to be the owner operater of the White Oak Resthome in Hillborough .

I will never forget those hot summer nites sitting out back . My mother Betty Jean Lucas passed on Novenber the 16 of 2016 .

She really thought alot of the Roycrofts .

 

I have six wall size paintings that hung in this restaurant painted by Buck Hester. My Dad got them when the restaurant was being demolished. I am trying to locate info on them as to dispose of them as part of my parents eatate. Any hep is appreciated 

can you post some pictures of them

I bet the family comes through this page every few months posting pictures would certainly help

Add new comment