DANVILLE, Ind. — Andy Griffith fans made a stop at the Mayberry Café this week to honor his memory.
Griffith was an actor best-known for his leading role as Sheriff Andy Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show,” which aired 1960-68 on CBS. He died July 3 at his home in Dare County, N.C., at the age of 86.
The Mayberry Café offers a down-home menu and celebrates all things made popular by “The Andy Griffith Show.” There’s even a ’62 Ford Galaxie 500 parked outside that’s made to look just like the show’s squad car.
Dottie Short, 86, and her daughter, Billie Parrish, headed to the restaurant for lunch after hearing about his passing.
“I live in Brownsburg, so I don’t get out this way very often,” said Short, who still watches reruns of the show on TV Land when she can. “My favorite on the show was Otis the drunk. He was so funny.”
She said Goober was always a favorite character, as well. “He was nuttier than a fruitcake.”
Parrish said she was also a fan of “Matlock,” in which Griffith starred. A courtroom drama, it aired 1986-95.
Griffith fans Richard and Lila Ritz of Winter Haven, Fla., stopped by the Mayberry Café for lunch Tuesday, as well.
“We walked in not knowing about his death,” said Richard Ritz. “I heard when we got here. I’m a big fan. I think I’ve seen every episode.”
Ritz teaches world history at a military academy in Florida.
“I always show the episode where Barney tries to recite the Preamble of the Constitution in my class,” he said.
The cafe is owned and operated by Christine and Brad Born.
“We opened in 1989,” said Christine Born. “Our employees called us to let us know (about Griffith’s death) today. People are still calling in and seeing if we know.”
Former cast members have visited the cafe in the past. Evidence of their visits can be found among the Griffith memorabilia in the restaurant. Jim Nabors, who played service station attendant Gomer Pyle, has been there several times. George Lindsey (aka, Goober Pyle) has also stopped by. To many, the Mayberry Café has become synonymous with Danville.
Brad Born explained why the show is his all-time favorite television program.
“It showed life as simple and down to earth,” he said. “There are a lot of values from the show we can teach our son.”
The restaurant offered a free piece of Aunt Bea’s Apple Pie topped with vanilla ice cream on Tuesday to celebrate Griffith’s life.
Brenda Holmes is a reporter for The Hendricks County Flyer in Avon, Ind.