Twenty-five years ago, Van Eure stepped up to run the Angus Barn, a restaurant that has become widely celebrated across North Carolina and beyond, putting her unique stamp on the historic operation that was founded in 1960 by her father, Thad Eure, Jr., and his partner, Charles M. Winston. Located in Raleigh, the rustic surroundings, which sit on 50 acres, have long been synonymous with Southern hospitality, great steaks, homemade baked goods, and family. Watching Eure work the massive dining room of “Big Red,” as the restaurant is affectionately called, is akin to witnessing a master hostess pull off the party of the year. She moves effortlessly, interacting with guests and staff alike, putting out fires, and offering words of encouragement along the way. It’s clear the 57-year-old Eure, who routinely flashes a megawatt smile, is in her element. But that wasn’t always the case.
In 1988, six years after buying out Winston, Thad Eure was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He lived only three months following the diagnosis, and his widow, Alice, along with daughter Van, assumed the mantle, despite enormous sorrow and bouts of uncertainty.
“My dad taught me that attitude is everything,” says Van Eure, who also lost her mother to ovarian cancer in 1997. “I am so grateful to have had parents that instilled in me the belief there is nothing that I can’t do if I want to.”
And do it she has—in style. Along the way she has garnered a treasure trove of honors including the National Restaurant Association’s College of Diplomate Award and Restaurant Neighbor Award, Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, North Carolina Restaurant Association’s Thad Eure, Jr. Hospitality Award, and the highly coveted Gold Plate award from the International Foodservice Manufacturer’s Association.
The accolades, coupled with her parents’ legacy, have propelled Eure to pull out all the stops when it comes to delivering for customers, staff, and family, even when that is easier said than done. After all, some fires are harder to put out than others.