By: Elaine Henson
Center Pier Part III
The addition of the Ocean View Restaurant to Center Pier brought a different clientele to the pier along with the fishermen. Beach civic clubs, tourists and families after church were some of the new patrons. The large pine paneled dining room with
blue-green carpeting had windows facing the ocean which was a draw for sure. They also had a private dining room for large families and meetings. The menu included lots of fresh seafood, some of it caught right out on the pier.
J.R. Bame’s daughter, Juanita and her husband, Allen Herring, were in charge of the pier and restaurant. Juanita also was the librarian at Roland Grise Junior High School, but worked weekends and summers at the pier restaurant. Their son, Pete Herring, also helped out when he was old enough. Pete became quite a chef and opened his own restaurant in the mid-1980s on Charlotte Street in the old Carolina Beach Presbyterian Church. Pete named it the Steeple; it is now home to the ever popular Deck House.
This post card shows the interior of the Ocean View Restaurant
By the early 1990s the pier had become the property of the Bame heirs since their parents had passed away. In 1995, the Bame family sold the property to James & Anita Pope.
The notorious year of I996 brought Bertha and Fran to our area. On July 12th, Category 2 Hurricane Bertha made landfall between Wrightsville Beach and Topsail with winds of 105 miles per hour. On September 5th, Hurricane Fran hit Cape Fear as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 miles an hour. It quickly weakened after making landfall, but rains of 16 inches brought extensive flooding in North Carolina. Fran destroyed the Kure Pier and took most of the Center Pier in its path.
But Jimmy Pope, had other plans for the Center Pier. He turned the hurricane damaged fishing pier into a Tiki Bar with a post card of its own. Every summer visitors and locals flock there to hear live music, have a glass of wine or a beer and maybe dinner on the pier.
Next Month: The Golden Sands, Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar