EAST BEND — Kitchen Roselli has only been in East Bend for eight years, but the building the restaurant is located in has stood for 100.
The restaurant is celebrating the centennial with a number of events, including wine tastings and an historic preservation ceremony.
On Friday, Roselli brought a local author to present his works and share his knowledge of the building’s spooky history.
Michael Renengar grew up in East Bend and graduated from Forbush High School before attending Appalachian State University. He had an interest in ghost stories and local legends earlier, but it wasn’t until he dormed in a reportedly haunted building on campus that he began researching and writing articles about the subject.
Renegar has since went on to write three books of local and regional legends. He was invited to the restaurant to share some of his stories — several of which include the Roselli building.
Renegar said one of his earliest encounters with ghosts happened at Kitchen Roselli’s building. He said a local woman named Rosebud Garrett ran a dental practice in the upstairs office.
She passed away when he was 11.
Sometime after his 12th birthday Renegar was riding his bicycle by the building when he looked up to the upstairs window. He saw Garrett and waved without thinking.
When it dawned on him what he had just seen, his interest in ghost stories was cemented.
Renegar went on to explain various myths in the region, like the Hunt House near Courtney and “Lydia” the vanishing hitchhiker rumored to haunt near High Point.
Some stories were debunked; some were declared by Renegar to be truth.
Others were explained to be paranormal, but not quite like local legend portrays the story.
A history major, Renegar seeks to include a history lesson through each story. He said the historical facts were at first seen as a negative by his publisher. Several hundred fan letters later they changed their minds and let Renegar continue educating while entertaining.
Visitors filled the building to hear Renegar speak and read Friday. Roselli took reservations for the space and dinner reservations beforehand to insure as many as could fit in were able to attend.
Renegar’s three books were available for purchase and signing.
“Ghosts of the Triad: Tales from the Haunted Heart of the Piedmont,” “Tar Heel Terrors: More North Carolina Ghosts and Legends,” and “Roadside Revenants and Other North Carolina Ghosts and Legends” also are available online from retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Kitchen Roselli will continue celebrating the centennial through the rest of the year.
Over the weekend the restaurant used its Facebook page to raffle off $20 gift cards for Roselli.
Every Friday in December, there will be wine tastings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Every Thursday in December, the restaurant will offer a special menu.
Reach Taylor Pardue at 835-1513 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.