The Do Drop In was established in 1947 in Winterville, North Carolina, by Wilbur Hardee. A year later he opened another restaurant at Port Terminal, near Greenville, and in 1954, Hardee purchased a building in Greenville known as the Three Steers. At a McDonald's Fast Food restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina, Hardee noticed that their hamburgers were grilled and thought charcoaled hamburgers would be better. To prepare hamburgers this way, he opened the original Wilbur Hardee Restaurant in Greenville in 1960. Hardee sold out to Jim Gardner the same year and by 1986 there were more than 1,500 Hardees in the southeast.