It was with great dismay that I learned last night of the death of E.C. Warren II, one of Roanoke’s most-loved restaurateurs.
I met E.C. last summer while reporting for a story about The Roanoker restaurant’s 66th birthday. He was a very sharp, friendly and gracious person.
E.C.’s father, E.Crafton Warren Sr., started The Roanoker in 1941. E.C. took over for him later in life and continued to carry the torch until his “retirement” about three years ago. I put that word in quotation marks because, as you may have read in Jessica Marcy’s article today, Warren’s business partner and friend Renee “Butch” Craft says he hardly missed a day of stopping by the restaurant.
I know he did miss a good week or two, though, just after my story ran in the paper. He and I had talked about our upcoming trips to Glacier National Park and how excited we were to see the scenery out West. After he returned, he e-mailed me and told me how much fun I could expect to have when I got out there later in the year.
That’s just the kind of person that E.C. Warren seemed to be — one who was interested not only in running a successful business, but in being there for people and being genuinely interested in their lives.
While The Roanoker may not be everyone’s favorite restaurant in town, it’s hard to argue with 67 years of successful business. The fact that many folks dine at the restaurant every single day is a testament to the family-like atmosphere that E.C. helped to establish there.
I’m sure he’s sitting up in heaven somewhere, enjoying a big old plate of biscuits with Roanoker sausage gravy. Rest in peace, E.C.!