K&W Cafeterias

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K&W Cafeteria
IndustryCasual dining restaurant
HeadquartersWinston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Key people
Grady T. Allred, Sr.
ProductsHomestyle food
WebsiteK&W Cafeteria
Not to be confused with the former S&W Cafeteria chain headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

K&W Cafeterias Inc. is a Southern USA chain of cafeteria-style restaurants. Its headquarters are in the K&W Corporate Office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.[1][2] K&W serves traditional Southern favorites including fried chicken, turnip greens, fried okra, and homemade desserts.

Grady T. Allred, Sr., a founder of K&W Cafeterias, entered the restaurant business on Thanksgiving Day 1935 as an employee of a small restaurant on Cherry Street in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Carolinian Coffee Shop was owned by brothers Thomas, Kenneth and William Wilson and their brother-in-law T.K. Knight. In 1937, the initials K&W (for Knight and Wilson) were adopted and K&W Restaurant was established.

Allred later acquired a one-third interest in the K&W Restaurant. After operating the restaurant with his partners for a few years, Allred purchased their interests and became the sole owner of K&W Restaurant around the year 1941.[2]

The K&W Restaurant continued to flourish at the Winston-Salem Cherry Street location until fire damage forced it to close for several months. After repairs and restoration were completed, it reopened as a restaurant/cafeteria combination. The cafeteria concept of the operation became so popular and successful that Allred decided to convert the unit entirely to cafeteria style food service.

K&W occupied its original location in Winston-Salem until an urban renewal project forced a move to 720 Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem.

On January 18, 1988, the K&W located at 380 Knollwood Street in Winston-Salem exploded due to a natural gas leak. The restaurant was destroyed and the attached Sheraton hotel was severely damaged. The blast occurred while the restaurant was closed. Of the four persons in the lobby/cafeteria building at the time of the explosion, three sustained minor injuries. A fourth person sustained a fractured ankle.[3] Both the restaurant and the hotel were damaged beyond repair and were subsequently demolished.

In 1991, K&W began offering takeout service through the To Go Shop. In 2009, K&W Catering began, for events such as weddings and corporate meetings.[2]

While other cafeteria chains went bankrupt during the 1980s and 1990s, K&W continued to prosper. From the original restaurant establishment, which seated 110 people, K&W now operates 30 cafeterias and has over 2500 employees throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Grady Allred, Sr. died in 1983. The chain continues to be operated by the third generation of his family.


  1. ^ "Group Sales Archived 2011-12-08 at the Wayback Machine.." K&W Cafeterias. Retrieved on January 31, 2012. "K&W Corporate Office P.O. Box 25048 Winston-Salem, NC 27114-5048"
  2. ^ a b c Daniel, Fran (2012-01-15). "K&W turns 75". Winston-Salem Journal. Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2012-01-15. - "Headquarters: 1391 Plaza West Road, off Healy Drive in Winston-Salem"
  3. ^ Report on 1988 Knollwood location explosion

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