While restaurants come and go, Maggie Valley Restaurant continues to be a staple. The Carver Family has owned the business at 2804 Soco Road for 50 years.
For fifty years, the Carver family has been serving tourists and locals alike at Maggie Valley Restaurant.
Authentic Southern dishes, fast service and competitive prices have drawn the crowds back year after year.
“We have strived to find really Southern recipes,” said Jewell Carver, James Carver’s wife. “recipes for those that want to taste real country cooking.
Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Carver opened the restaurant 50 years ago, and their children purchased it from them in 1963. Maggie Valley Restaurant is a family institution and something they are proud of, they said.
“We were all born behind the restaurant across the creek,” said James Carver, one of the three owners of the restaurant.
The other owners are his brothers, Rick Carver and Robert Carver. Together they uphold the high standards of their parents.
They pride themselves for always serving fresh food – a tradition that they have continued from their parents days
“They (Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Carver) used to raise their own hogs for country ham,” Jewell Carver said. “as the business grew, the demand was to stay in the restaurant more than raising ham.”
While raising hogs for ham is not practical now, the Carvers want that same quality with their food. They use only fresh ingredients and nothing frozen.
“We’ve been known for the best hamburgers in the valley,” Rick Carver said. “A lot of people have told us that.”
Along with serving fresh authentic Southern dishes, they said they feel they provide some of the fastest service in town. James Carver has set a personal time goal for the day shift.
“We want customers to be eating three minutes after their order is turned into the kitchen,” James Carver said. “We don’t want to take up all their time. It’s their vacation.”
Since opening, the Carvers have watched Maggie Valley grow from a small community into a bidding tourist town.
“Back then (50’s and 60’s), it wasn’t a tourist town,” Rick Carver said. “Most of them (tourists) were going to Cherokee.”
Maggie Valley Restaurant is one of the only business that has witness this growth and stayed around for the duration. They have done this while managing to keep the restaurant in the same family.
“I could remember a time when you could walk down the road and it may be 45 minutes before you passed a car,” Rick Carver said. “There were no street lights from Glenbrook to Soco Gardens.”
This is the not the only restaurant in town, but the Carvers are happy to see Maggie Valley grow.
“The town has to grow and survive,” said James Carver. “Maggie must survive.”
They do not worry about the competition because they feel they offer a high quality product that will bring people back year after year. After half a century in the business, Maggie Valley Restaurant owners make this point difficult to argue.
While watching Maggie Valley grow, they have also supported this growth.
“My father, when mom and he opened the restaurant in 1952, like the present owners, has always supported the businesses, the town of Maggie Valley and all organizations that make up Maggie Valley,” James Carver said.
When their parents owned the restaurant, they supported Maggie Valley by instituting a little-league team for the town. Hazelwood Boosters. At that time, the team played in Hazelwood and it is still around today, James Carver said.
Also, the idea to create a chamber of commerce for Maggie Valley was discussed at a meeting conducted at the Maggie Valley Restaurant, he said.
To celebrate their 50 years of business, the restaurant owners sent coupons to former customers for discounts on meals.
“This is our way of saying thank you,” James Carver said, adding that the program will continue each year.
Maggie Valley Restaurant represents 50 years of family and 50 years of Maggie Valley history.
“I wouldn’t like to see it sell to a stranger,” Rick Carver said. “I would like to see it carried on (to the next generation of Carvers).”
The family said it hopes to have another 50 years in the valley. With the increase in tourism and the increase in local customer business, they said they feel confident about their future.
Article by Bryan Hackney The Enterprise Mountaineer