Ward’s Grill in Saluda reopens with new owners and menu options

Asheville – A North Carolina couple breathes new life into a historic restaurant thought to be gone forever.

One fateful day, Chef Josh Holmes stops by a Thompson store in Saluda, drawn in by its history and Coca-Cola displays. He got far more than he bargained for in a moment that would change the course of his career.

“I went there and saw the diner, and it looked like it had just closed the day before,” he said. The lady at the register asked, ‘What are they going to do with this dinner? ‘ And she said, ‘To be honest with you, I think she’s going. …it’s been here since the ’60s, and no one wants to take over. “

He learned that dinner was Ward’s Grill, a 1950s-style restaurant at 24 E. Main St. in Saluda. It operated from 1960 until it closed in the fall of 2020.

Taylor and Josh Holmes have reopened the popular Wards Grill in Saluda, North Carolina.

“It’s in a building that’s been around since the 1890s,” Holmes said. “It’s next door to the Thompson Grocery Store, which is the oldest grocery store in North Carolina.”

Holmes had been planning to open a grilling company, but a new idea emerged when he learned more about the restaurant’s past and bleak future.

“They’re not going to reopen it, basically,” Holmes said. “They had a bunch of people who wanted to eat and turn it into a completely different restaurant – they got rid of dinner.”

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