New Restaurant With Country Cooking Tips Hat To The '80s

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SHELBY, N.C.,None — ‘You don't have to be rich / to be my girl…'

Tracy Putnam pulls up a chair as Prince sings on the radio.

On the wall behind him is the iconic Ghostbusters logo. Across the room, Kevin Bacon circa 1984 is captured in mid-motion, with ‘Footloose' written across the bottom of the poster.

It was nine weeks ago that Putnam first walked into the for-mer Great Wall restaurant, on Marion Street near Cherryville Road.

Nine weeks later, the former Chinese restaurant has been transformed into a country cook-ing restaurant with a major tip of the hat to the 1980s.

Restaurant experience

Putnam, who has been in the restaurant industry 30 years, said it was the location that drew him in most.

He grew up working for his dad and "bounced around from restaurant to restaurant," even working at such local eateries as Italian Garden and the former Sister's Café.

Radio inspiration

Then the door opened for someone to come into the Great Wall location. Putnam, with some financial backing, jumped at the chance.

As far as the name?

A friend of his heard Simple Minds' ‘Don't You Forget About Me' on the radio, the theme to the 1985 favorite ‘The Breakfast Club.'

"He just threw it out there and it stuck," Putnam said with a smile.

And with the name came the restaurant's theme.

Aside from the restaurant's look, what sets it apart?

"Standards," he said. "We have high standards. Everything's made fresh daily."

The restaurant officially opened its doors Aug. 25. A grand opening is set for Thursday.

Faith partnership

Putnam has had a lot of help from his partners, all of whom attend White Harvest Ministries in Shelby.

Becky Hamrick started as a silent financial partner. In time, she's become more involved.

Hamrick said the breakfast menu includes sausage, country ham, grits, hashbrowns and gravy biscuits, among other items.

There will be daily lunch specials, she added. And a must-have for lunch is the BC cheeseburger – two patties plus ham and cheese.

"This is a friendly atmosphere," Hamrick said. "I want people to come in and feel like they're at home."