Whitey’s Restaurant founder Horace Prevatte passes away

“He and wife Betty started Whitey’s Restaurant in June 1954 and operated it until December 19th, 2010."
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 8:28 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Horace “Whitey” Lee Prevatte, a notable business owner and resident of the Cape Fear area, has passed away, according to an online obituary.

According to Andrews Mortuary and Crematory, Prevatte passed at his home on Sunday, May 28. He was 94.

“At Clarkton High School, he garnered the nickname ‘CottonTop’ from his white hair, but was dubbed ‘Whitey’ during his Army service and it stuck,” states the obituary. “He and wife Betty started Whitey’s Restaurant in June 1954 and operated it until December 19th, 2010. Whitey’s Restaurant was known to support law enforcement whether it was through feeding officers during a hurricane or coffee ‘on the house’ for any officer in uniform.”

In addition to Whitey’s Restaurant, the Prevatte family also owned the El Berta Motor Inn, which closed its doors in 2009.

The restaurant would soon follow suit, being demolished in 2011.

“Whitey was instrumental in bringing the USS North Carolina to its berth in the Cape Fear River in 1961. He envisioned it as a symbol of patriotism for the state of NC as well as recognizing the opportunity to attract tourism to Wilmington,” the obituary adds.

“Whitey served with numerous civic organizations including: the Board of Directors for Cape Fear Hospital for 17 years, the North Carolina Battleship Commission for 9 years, The East Wilmington Rotary Club, a Master Mason, member of the Scottish Rite, and the American Legion. Whitey was a member of the Wilmington Committee of 100 and Winter Park Presbyterian Church. He sponsored numerous community activities including a Little League team at Supper Optimist for 27 years. He was a special deputy for New Hanover Sherriff’s department, having completed basic law enforcement training.”