Now owned and operated by Van Eure
, daughter of the late Thad Eure, Jr., and staffed by a loyal, hardworking team, many of whom have built their careers here, the double doors of the Barn open 363 evenings a year.
learned the value of hiring and training cream-of-the-crop employees; listening to them; and trusting them to find the best, most practical solutions to problems.
calls this process the "20 Foot Rule.
This means that every employee within 20 feet of a problem should contribute to the solution.
After 26 years of tackling hundreds of challenges with her
entire team, today Van
fondly refers to her
employees as her
"Angus Barn Family."
On the morning of February 7, 1964, Eure
and Winston stood powerlessly as they watched fire reduce their dreams to smoke and ash.
Only recently did Van
meet the gentleman who reported the fire.
recalled how frustrating it was searching for an emergency phone in the late night hours in the rural area surrounding the Barn
Build it bigger and better
If triumph could come from tragedy, Eure
and Winston resolved to rebuild within record time.
father, today Van
continues these original traditions with exceptional generosity.
Van remarks, "Word of mouth never ceases to be the best advertising."
In November of 1978, after eighteen years of their legendary partnership, Eure
and Winston decided to consider separate paths.
After Eure's death, Alice and Van
continued to co-own and manage his beloved "Big Red," the centerpiece of his restaurant empire.
In May of 1991, Alice and Van
collaborated on one of the Barn's
boldest initiatives yet: The basement that once housed stacked boxes and cases of wine in a place called "the cages" was transformed into a spectacular, 28,000 bottle wine cellar and dining room for the ultimate dining experience.
After Alice's death, many speculated that Van
would simply sell the Barn
and pursue other causes that she
championed such as animal rights.
Others speculated that she
had many options that would lead her
far from "Big Red.
loves to defy those who doubt her
, and she
can be counted on to surprise and inspire.
"I never once considered selling the Barn
because our loyal guests and employees are like family
to me and 'Big Red' is my home."
Still A Family Affair
The Angus Barn
is now owned and operated by Van Eure
believes that each guest is the most important person on earth while dining at the Barn
believes in the Golden Rule of customer care: The customer has the gold and, therefore, makes the rules.
As the Barn
completed the first decade of the new century, not only did Van
and Steve build The Pavilion, their dream thrives.
attests, "There are not many men on this earth who can look back and say they lived their entire life following a creed of integrity."
In an age of never-ending political scandals and partisan bickering, Eure, Sr. remains a one-of-a-kind politician, orator and statesman.
longevity and love of North Carolina
country may never be equaled.
One of the nurses who cared for Alice in her final days eloquently told Van, "In the 25 years that I've been a nurse, I've never been as impressed with anyone as I was your mother.
caring and compassion made a tremendous difference," Van
remembers, "Those who knew her
considered themselves lucky.
There was nobody like her
was a true lady.
was cut from the cloth of great statesmen and entrepreneurs from whom she
pure, stubborn optimism.
it can't be done, but get out of her
She'll prove that it can, flashing you a blinding smile.
the first one standing at "The Star-Spangled Banner.
a patriot who champions the privilege of voting.
peers knew the carefreeness of youth, Van
tackled a myriad of jobs that instilled a lifelong work ethic.
From janitorial to waitressing, she
learned life skills.
There was no car in the driveway when her
16th birthday arrived.
parents' law: If you can work, you can buy your own car!
For all of her
parents' success, there were no spoils; only responsibilities.
was raised southern, Van's spirit was nomadic.
After college, there was no other course but to flee the world of conveniences.
new world on the African continent where she
climbed Mt. Kenya.
She fell in love with Kenya, establishing a Montessori-type school where she taught children who still adore her to this day.
After five years, the expatriate returned to her
When the Wild Turkey Lounge opened, Van
bartended, thinking that it would be a temporary job - ha!
began to see her
father and the restaurant business in a new light.
pancreatic cancer, leaving Van
thwarted at the prospect of losing him and carrying on his
"Big Red" became her
new calling, and Van
immersed herself in work, slowly beginning to make her
father's philosophy of hospitality but sought her
own unique style of management.
management paradigm on the belief that empowering her
team to make their own decisions would boost morale and steepen loyalty.
And it worked!
also became a student of Ken Blanchard, the famous author of The One Minute Manager.
leadership grew firmly rooted, she
found herself surrounded with exceptional loyalty.
Today, it's easier to get a job with the FBI
than the Barn
At a mere 14%, employee turnover is exceptionally low.
requires each job candidate to be thoroughly screened.
Respect for fellow team members, guests and the values for which the Angus Barn stands is simply not optional.
One of the most important, enduring examples of respect for guests is documented in an episode of the CBS series 48 Hours on "Customer Service.
Unbeknownst to Van
and to her
team, a reporter wearing a hidden camera posed as "the guest from hell" one evening.
complained about every detail.
Although the team rallied with solutions and smiles, the reporter persisted.
approached to extend further diplomacy.
great surprise, she
learned the purpose of the reporter's visit.
The reporter's verdict: the Angus Barn
was the perfect example of customer service.
Wife, Mother and Crusader
was not the first workaholic in the family, but she
was the first Eure to be married to a restaurant rather than a human.
became part of a three-member family that included Steve's son, Christopher.
They made the perfect family as Van
had fallen madly for Christopher, too.
and Steve built The Pavilion, they moved closer to fulfilling her parents' dreams of expansion.
The monumental loss of her
mother affected Van
powerfully and therefore, when she
began to feel lethargic, she
assumed it was only a reaction to her
And then, just when her
life could not become any more
shockingly discovered these symptoms were normal because she
was expecting - at age 44!
Ali and Chris are frequent fixtures at the Angus Barn
working with Van
Inheriting Alice's deep compassion, to date, Van
has rescued swans, fawns, llamas, wild ponies, horses, a pot-bellied pig, and more dogs and cats than you'd find in an area shelter.
In 1998 Van
learned the story of a quarterhorse named Cheyenne who, while in a trainer's care, was severely beaten.
was outraged when she
learned that the trainer was only convicted of a misdemeanor, and she
would not rest until the legislature passed a felony cruelty statute.
Hence she formed The Cheyenne Foundation whose mission is to provide funds for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
Jill Highsmith comments of her
boss and dear friend, "The Beatles wrote the song 'Eight Days a Week' and every time I hear it, it reminds me of Van
thinks of others all the time, eight days a week.
is a builder of people,
loves facing a challenge every day that takes her
out of her
comfort zone, just as she
did that fateful day that Thad challenged her
to learn "Big Red.
Thankfully for us all, she
The future still holds countless dreams and challenges.