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New restaurant drawing crowds in Mills River

The Gaither family, from left, Tyler, Kyle, Wendy and Mitch, and Terrie Garris enjoy dinner at Nancy Lynn's, the new restaurant on Haywood Road in Mills River. The Gaither family, from left, Tyler, Kyle, Wendy and Mitch, and Terrie Garris enjoy dinner at Nancy Lynn's, the new restaurant on Haywood Road in Mills River.

MILLS RIVER — When Bradley Johnson and Nancy Waycaster opened Nancy Lynn's Diner and Pizzeria last Monday, they thought they had prepared. One thing they hadn't predicted was the crowds.


"We've been swamped since we opened," said Johnson, one of the three Johnson brothers who run Tap Root Dairy, along with their sister, Mary Louise Corn. "We were understaffed. We've hired a couple more people."
"Everybody seems to be pretty pleased that we're here," Johnson said. "There's only been one restaurant in Mills River for a long time. I'm not knocking them but everybody likes a variety."
He credited Waycaster for coming up with the idea of opening her own diner after working as a manager at Mills River Family Restaurant, which is just a few steps away around the corner, on N.C. 280. Nancy Lynn's is at 4195 Haywood Road, in the space formerly occupied by Dog Town.
"This is just a night job" for Johnson after farming in the day. "Nancy's been in the restaurant business for 25 years," he said. "I'd have never touched it had it not been for her. I know how to manage people and make things happen but I know nothing about a restaurant."
The restaurant, which seats 70, attracts steady traffic for takeout as well as dining in. Waycaster said she hopes to start delivery in a couple of months.
The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers burgers, sub sandwiches, chicken tenders, French fries, pizza, pasta, shrimp and flounder. The breakfast fare includes eggs, omelettes, French toast, pancakes, French toast and breakfast meats — and 75-cent coffee.
"You won't find better prices in the country," Johnson said.
Hours are 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.