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Sutton's Drug Store celebrates its 90th birthday with 5 cent hot dogs

People eat in Sutton's Wednesday morning in celebration of its 90th birthday. There were 5 cents hot dogs, fries, and fountain drinks.
People eat in Sutton's Wednesday morning in celebration of its 90th birthday. There were 5 cents hot dogs, fries, and fountain drinks.

At Sutton’s Drug Store on Wednesday, 90 years of inflation never happened.

Franklin Street’s beloved Sutton’s celebrated its 90th anniversary Wednesday by charging its 1923 prices. Fries, hot dogs and drinks were all just five cents.

A line of customers — which eventually totaled more than 1,300 throughout the day — snaked out the front door and down the street for the chance to get lunch for less than a quarter.

Though the event was scheduled to last from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., customers were still queuing after 5 p.m. Everyone in line at that time was served.

Owner and pharmacist John Woodard said the restaurant was prepared for the massive turnout.

“We’ve got about 1,600 hot dog buns to use throughout the day, and we figure we’ll use every one of them,” he said.

Chapel Hill residents Rich Brand and Chris Morris went to Sutton’s Wednesday to celebrate, but it certainly wasn’t their first visit.

“We’re regulars. Sometimes we come twice a day. At least a couple of times a week,” Brand said.

Brand and Morris said they both enjoy the tradition of Sutton’s. Morris said the occasional treat of being able to meet UNC basketball players, who are known to frequent the restaurant, is also a plus.

UNC student Zoe Wolszon, a regular at Sutton’s for breakfast, decided to come out for lunch when she heard about the lowered prices.

“I was in lab, and someone said there were five-cent hot dogs and fries, so I said, ‘See ya later!’” she said. “I feel like this was a deal I couldn’t pass up on.”

Woodard said cooperation among Sutton’s vendors made lowering the prices less of a challenge.

“All these big companies all chipped in and made it easy for us to be able to have a day for those prices way back from 1923,” he said. “They all got in to help with the celebration.”

Though more than 1,000 people bought food at the event, General Manager Don Pinney said the anniversary prices didn’t even cover the cost of the food.

“It was my idea and I need to be shot,” he joked. “But I wanted to give something back to my customers. They were very thankful of all that we did for them today.”

And Woodard said the customers and their love for the restaurant make his long hours and work days worth while.

“It’s just so exciting to know that people know you’re here and love coming here,” he said.

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