Services are Saturday for Cardin’s Drive-In founder

Sandra ClarkFeature, Northeast Knox

Cardin’s Drive-In will reopen Oct. 1 following the death Sept. 25 of founder Pauline Cardin. She and husband W.H. Cardin founded the iconic restaurant on Asheville Highway at Four-Way Inn in 1959.


Her daughter Wilma Cardin now owns the restaurant but listed it for sale earlier this month. She has been off from work, caring for her mother. That left management responsibilities to Melinda Roberts, granddaughter of the founder.

The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday, Sept. 29, at Bridges Funeral Home, 5430 Rutledge Pike. A funeral will follow at noon and the family will then travel in procession to Asbury Cemetery for graveside services.

Survivors include a second daughter, Ginger Vaughn, and husband Bobby; and former son-in-law, Jimmy Hillard. Mrs. Cardin’s surviving siblings are L. D. Taylor and wife Louise; Jerry Taylor and wife Evelyn; Aileen Erwin and husband Ralph (deceased).

She was a member of Piedmont Church in New Market. She was preceded in death by her husband, Willie H. Cardin; brother Charles Taylor and wife Dolly; brother O.L. Taylor and wife Mary; and sister Estelle Bunch and husband Jim.

In a story by John North (WBIR-TV) on Sept. 11, Realtor Tony Thomas said he listed the drive-in and a nearby house the Cardin family has lived in for decades for $2.5 million. The family hopes to see the restaurant continue, said Melinda Roberts, but the 60- to 80-hour weeks she’s working are wearing.

Cardin’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week and is closed on Sundays. It offers curb service and a walk-up window with plentiful outdoor seating. The menu has classic car-hop fare – hamburgers, milk shakes and fries. Summer and fall are busy times with people driving from around the county to eat at Cardin’s.

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