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Greg Cairns, Who Ran Grandview Restaurant With His Wife For 30+ Years, Passes Away on 61st Birthday

By Jesse Wood

Sept. 25, 2013. Greg Cairns, who operated the Grandview Restaurant, a fixture in Foscoe, with his wife Debbie for more than 30 years, passed away on his 61st birthday on Sept. 19.


Friends described Cairns has someone who would do anything to help you out.

“He always had a smile on his face, and if he didn’t, he would soon,” said Dave Bartlett, who knew Cairns for the past 25 years.

Like Cairns, Bartlett, owner of The Speckled Trout Café in Blowing Rock, has spent his career experiencing the “trials and tribulations” of running a restaurant in the High Country, and the two would bounce ideas off of each other.

The Cairnses opened the Grandview Restaurant in 1977 – two days before their fourth wedding anniversary. Debbie’s father Jim Barker, a contractor working in Hound Ears, was the impetus for opening the restaurant because Barker couldn’t find a decent cup of coffee along N.C. 105, according to a 2006 High Country Press business profile. At the time, the Grandview Restaurant was the only diner in between Boone and Linville. 

Just like Bartlett, Bill Wilkinson enjoyed Greg’s company for decades. Wilkinson, owner of Grandfather Trout Farm and Gem Mine, operates his business about a block from the Grandview Restaurant and is practically a neighbor to the Cairnses.

Wilkinson knew Greg for roughly 35 years and watched his kids grow from babies to young adults.

 “At one time, they felt like part of my family because I saw them more than mine,” Wilkinson said. “We’ve always been very close.”

The Cairnses
The Cairnses

Wilkinson noted that Greg had a passion for and a wonderful collection of building model toys such as airplanes, boats and race cars.

He added that Greg loved to escape the restaurant by going out to the Watauga Lake on his boat to fish, drink beer and just relax.

From his obituary, Cairns is survived by his wife, Debra Barker Cairns; son, Charles Logan Cairns of Banner Elk; daughter, Leigh Ann Pozell and husband, Joseph, of Greensboro; two brothers, Michael Cairns of Florida, and Jack Cairns of Canada; and four sisters, Carol Price, Sandra Turtle, and Kim Wareham, all of Canada, and Gerri Robinson of Seattle, Washington. A number of nieces, nephews and cousins also survive. 

Funeral services were conducted on Monday afternoon. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Victory Junction, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com