Look! A Rare Interior View of Davis' White Spot Restaurant



photo courtesy Robert Wire

You know I've written before about the mysterious Davis' White Spot restaurant in Memphis — mysterious only because so many readers seem to remember it, but I've never seen any photos, menus, postcards, or other proof that the place ever existed.

Well, thanks to folks like Robert Wire, I'm getting there.

Robert recently sent me a very interesting email, telling me who he was and how he knows about the White Spot:

"I am a distant relation to the last owners of Davis' White Spot, Robert and Pearl Winfield. Pearl was my mother's older sister. I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and in the 1950s and '60s we would visit them every year. I have a lot of fond memories of the place, because the White Spot was a kid's paradise. I would play in the semi-formal gardens in the daytime before the evening crowds arrived, and was sometimes allowed to help in the kitchen.

"One of the highlights of any visit was the big beautiful jukebox in the main dining room. (I, of course, got to play it for free!). I am sending you a digitally restored Christmas photo (above) of the Winfields and my family celebrating Christmas in 1951."

Robert explained that the photo shown here was actually taken in the Winfields' living room, since their residence was attached to the restaurant. I think we had assumed they lived on the property, but did not know their home was actually part of the restaurant. He identified the people in the photo. Front row, left to right: Aileen Wire, Roberta Winfield, and Robert Wire (when he was a kid, of course). Back row, left to right: Robert Winfield, Ruby Alice Winfield, Pearl Winfield, Elizabeth Weaver, Michael Wire, James Weaver, and William Weaver. "My father took the photo," he says.

Robert later sent another email, giving more information about the old place, and the family who ran it:

"Robert and Pearl had two daughters, Roberta and Ruby Alice, who are now deceased. Ruby never married, and Roberta married but died young, and I have lost touch with her husband and sons.

"The architecture of the White Spot was nothing special, as I recall. It was just white wood siding, but it was attractive. The parking lot was gravel with a large tree close to the center. The semi-formal garden was on the far side of the parking lot from the restaurant.

"I remember when we came down once, on arriving Robert insisted that we admire his new large neon sign that had replaced the old original sign; he was quite proud of it. The property seemed quite large to me, but of course I was a child. The gardens were not what I would consider formal gardens, but were pretty with rose bushes and swings and a little artificial pond.

"In the interior of the restaurant, the two main dining rooms were done in knotty-pine paneling. The inside ambience on the whole was not classy, but very warm and inviting."

And then Robert dropped this bombshell: "I found an exterior photo of the White Spot." Wow! At last! As soon as he sends it, I'll post it. Stay tuned!

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Ask Vance

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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