Hendersonville, North Carolina: Harry's Grill and Piggy's IceA restaurant decorated with dozens of rescued roadside advertising statues, and a full-size Hooterville Jail.
Visitor Tips and News About Harry's Grill and Piggy's Ice
Previous tipsters' claims that the Yogi and Boo Boo statues at Harry's were originally from a California burger chain never sounded plausible to me. I mean, there are plenty of Yogi Bear statues around, especially at Jellystone Park campgrounds, which there seem to have been a number of here in North Carolina. So the notion that a Yogi statue in the mountains of North Carolina originated in California just didn't seem quite right. And it turns out, it's not. I ran into Harry when I stopped by recently and, according to him, Yogi stood in front of a restaurant in the nearby town of Lake Lure for over 25 years, and before that he was at a neighboring campground. As for Boo Boo, he was cast locally from a mold made from one of the statues of the North Carolina-based Yogi Bear Honey Fried Chicken chain. So both statues are North Carolina natives and not California transplants. Harry's a great guy, by the way. He gave me a pretty lengthy tour of both the restaurant and the next door antique shop, even though it was Sunday and both businesses were closed.[Dean Jeffrey, 07/31/2012]
Many cartoon and other figures are on the roof and in front of this restaurant. Indoors there's lots of antiques and oddities, including an A&P sign, items from many old extinct businesses, old toys and figures, and even a Col. Sanders. This place has been here since the 1950s.[B Carter, 05/01/2012]
I want to confirm Brian Boyle's comments about the Yogi Bear and Boo Boo Bear statues: I worked for Yogi Bear Hamburgers in the late 60s in Sacramento. We sold 5 Yogi burgers for a dollar. Our premier burger was the Ranger Burger which came on an onion roll bun with two patties, lettuce, tomato, pickle and our "secret sauce." Of course, we could add or subtract any condiment you wanted on your burgers, per your request. The company was owned by Lloyd Heap who, as legend has it, was originally in upper management of the Jack-in-the-Box chain and who was allowed to use the blueprints of their drive-through restaurants for his start-up Yogi Bear restaurant. The original unit on Arden Way was an exact copy of the early Jack in the Box stores. A second unit was built in 1968 near the corner of Madison and Manzanita in Carmichael. That building has since been torn down. We indeed had employees who wore full size Yogi and Boo Boo suits out on the property to entice passers-by to come on in. The Yogi suit was large enough to fit most males and the Boo Boo suit was smaller. Most of the new hires had to start out wearing the suits, then progressing inside to work the drinks, fryers, windows and eventually the grill. I went out in the Yogi suit a couple of times, just for fun. It was quite liberating....you could act like a complete fool and no one knew who you were.[John, 07/09/2010]
Origins of the mysterious Yogi Bear and Boo Boo statues: When I was a kid, growing up in Sacramento during the late '60s and early '70s, my family used to patronize a burger chain called Yogi Bear Burgers. One location was at 2445 Arden Way (which is now a Spudnuts doughnut shop). They hired employees to stand outside their burger shop and wave to traffic wearing a Yogi Bear costume and a Ranger Smith costume. Their outside seating featured dark green conical umbrellas, made to resemble pine trees. The statues in the photo are from that burger chain.[Brian Boyle, 10/03/2009]
There's a cluster of advertising statues -- including a bunch of cows, some pink elephants, an Esso tiger, two Shoney's Big Boys, a chef holding a burger, and Yogi Bear and Boo Boo -- at a restaurant called Harry's Grill and Piggy's Ice and at its next door neighbor, Thompson's Antiques. The statues have been accumulating there since 1980, when the ice cream store (then just known as Piggy's Ice) first opened.
Most of them have been gathered from other businesses in the Carolinas, although Yogi doesn't look like he's a relic from the North Carolina-based Yogi Bear's Honey Fried Chicken chain, mostly because he's not holding a drumstick. And I've never seen the big burger-holding chef before, so have no idea where he's from. There's more inside, including a Colonel Sanders statue, a Ronald McDonald, and lots of vintage signs, as well as a full-size Hooterville Jail.[Dean Jeffrey, 02/14/2009]