Austin and Jeppie Watts purchased the property (properties, actually) between 1946 and 1951. It was previously known as the S. H. Basnight property. Watts Grill opened in the early 1950s. The motel/motor court was built soon afterwards.
View south east, circa 1960
View south east, 1961
August 1957 (CHW)
It was renamed/reopened as Watts Restaurant in August 1957.
Watts was the site of numerous Civil Rights protests in 1963-1964, as it was a public space yet segregated. Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed on July 2, 1964 by Congress, Watts' owners (Austin and Jeppie Watts) refused to integrate (even with violence against protestors) until threatened with a lawsuit. Watts finally relented and desegregated on July 10, 1964. The restaurant was the final anti-desegregation hold out in Chapel Hill.
Aerial photograph excerpt, 1955 (circled in red)
Aerial photograph excerpt, showing additions/expansions, 1975 (circled in red)
July 1951 ad; are you trying to tell customers something?
Interior of restaurant, 1958
UNC student Lou Calhoun after being urinated on by Jeppie Watts, January 2, 1964 (photo by Jim Wallace)
The Watts family sold the property (and business) in March 1965 to Manning A. Simons. In February 1966 Simons sold a half share of the grill/restaurant business to attorney W. Harold Edwards.
The buildings were demolished circa 2000.
The approximate site today; view west, June 2019 (via Google Streetview)