Historical marker ordered up for Waffle House

(Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com)

(Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com)

Waffle House’s roots run deep in metro Atlanta, so deep that a historical marker is being ordered up along with pecan waffles, grits, eggs, bacon, hash browns and orange juice to commemorate the first one built nearly six decades ago.

The Georgia Historical Society will place a marker at the site of the first Waffle House on East College Avenue near Avondale Estates on Sept. 8. The chain, which has grown to 1,600 locations nationwide, was started by Avondale Estates neighbors Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner in 1955.

“In the beginning, we thought we would open about 10 locations and then go fishing,” Rogers said in a statement from the historical society.

Since its opening, waitresses at the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week restaurant have greeted many a late-night visitor with “What can I get for ya, hon’?” before firing off a rapid succession of orders to a cook who is already flipping, chopping, pressing, scraping and scooping up food from a large sizzling surface to slide  onto plates.

The original building is now a museum at 2719 E. College Ave., which is where the marker will be erected.  But if you have a craving for something scattered, smothered and covered after visiting the museum, you’ll find the chain’s trademark black and yellow sign just up the street at  2850 E. College Ave.

What’s your most memorable Waffle House experience?

63 comments Add your comment

richard

August 29th, 2012
12:43 pm

helen

August 29th, 2012
12:48 pm

My most memorable experience was getting as sick as a dog after eating an order of crunchy greasy hashbrowns. Will never forget it.

k teacher

August 29th, 2012
12:49 pm

The first outing the 8-year-old son I eventually adopted went on at his request … bowling and then supper at a Waffle House between Griffin and Barnesville. That was in November of 2010.

Missin' Toof

August 29th, 2012
12:54 pm

I used to sit at the Waffle House near the Hwy 5/Canton Rd connector in Marietta a decade ago when the staff was awesome until they slowly went their ways and the new staff crapped the feel.
My favorite memories were of the car wrecks, fights, and drama in the 2am hours of the mornings. Plus you could smoke… The ban KILLED the culture.

Robert

August 29th, 2012
1:34 pm

Smoking kills people…come to think of it, so does Waffle House food.

Scattered covered smothered and diseased.

August 29th, 2012
2:02 pm

No one says supper any more.

Calvin Ruff Ruff

August 29th, 2012
2:05 pm

I had some pretty interesting nights/early mornings at the Waffle House in the little 5 points area of Athens, Georgia. On a couple of visits, even spotted the great Vince Dooley dining on a pecan waffle.

I remember

August 29th, 2012
2:07 pm

I remember their ash trays. Wasn’t that long ago-antiques now, I guess.
The old, thin enamel coffee cups with the brown swirls were much superior than the clunky things they have now.
Oh, and they used to serve real butter and cream-not the fake chemical imitations.
Sad to see many of the locations being ‘renovated’ to a red and black color scheme. I miss the traditional brown and yellow feel…
My grandmother went to school with Mr. Forkner, hear he’s a real nice fellow.

Grimace

August 29th, 2012
2:09 pm

At a Waffle House in Augusta late one night, we were greeted by the waitress with this: “Hey how yall doing? Yall got any dope?”

ant banks

August 29th, 2012
2:15 pm

everyone wants to be an effin’ comedian…

i had great waffle house experiences. that was the first stop after leaving the clubs, late night, back in the early 90s. i would order t-bone steak, eggs scrambled with cheese and onions, hash brown, scattered, covered, smoothered, diced, chunked, and topped. great stuff

Steamboat

August 29th, 2012
2:22 pm

First date at the Waffle House museum with my future wife

Big John

August 29th, 2012
2:22 pm

My wife and I started a tradition of celebrating our anniversary at the Waffle House. This started because we worked late at our small business and by the time we got off, most resturants in our town were closed. We have come to really enjoy this simple dining experience. Each year as our anniversary approaches my employees start reminding me where I am expected to dine! We have never had a bad meal and most of all we always laugh and have fun. Thanks Waffle House for saving me lots of money!

DCS

August 29th, 2012
2:32 pm

“Everybody’s somebody at Waffle House.”

Bikerchick

August 29th, 2012
2:35 pm

My now-husband and I spent our first Christmas morning together (when we were dating) at Waffle House. We decided on a whim to go there very early in the morning for breakfast and had such a great time, that now it is a tradition with us whenever it’s just the two of us together at Christmas.

Deborah

August 29th, 2012
2:37 pm

I was raised just down the road from the #1 Waffle House. Twice a year before heading out for New York at 2:00am, we would stop there so my Dad could eat after coming home from the night shift at Lockheed. Miss the original #1 Waffle House and miss my Dad.

Billy

August 29th, 2012
2:40 pm

Mustard on hash browns and a hamburger with my dad before he dropped me off at my mother’s Riverdale Rd apartment in 1970, now under the fifth runway. Had to cut back on the mustard in my old age, but still love WH. It’s not health food, it’s REAL food. You’re going to die of something–might as well be good eating…

WS

August 29th, 2012
2:43 pm

My favorite Waffle House moment is when I was eating a grilled chicken sandwich and half way through it got chewy…the 2nd half was somehow completely raw. Being able to cook only one half of a chicken sandwich is a skill I have never been able to master. Good times…good times.

Mako

August 29th, 2012
2:49 pm

The first time I ever got GAS from eating….Yikes!

jr

August 29th, 2012
2:51 pm

The place is the WALMART of restaurants . no style and nothing of any semblance of taste…they are cold as an icebox. the waitresses are usually fat and ugly. the place smells like smoke and the food is basically disgusting. Oh yeah..and they are a favorite eating place for every redneck in the south. we get rid of the mom and pop diner and replace them with this greasy spoon. Waffle House is so devoid of character they TEAR DOWN the first one.

Chris

August 29th, 2012
2:57 pm

I remember going there with my buddies James, Scott, Jake, Kevin, and Rick after working late at the grocery store and eating chocolate pie while the others would get a waffle sandwich or hashbrowns scattered, covered, smothered, chunked and whatever else…good times and great memories!

clancy murphy

August 29th, 2012
2:58 pm

what is wrong with you people. waffle house is great. don’t go there and quit complaining once you do. have you been to your local mcdonalds lately? waffle house is an institution and i have never gotten any bad food there. look at the menu and if you don’t like what you see then go somewhere else. do you people have nothing else to do but complain?

BigGTMike

August 29th, 2012
3:04 pm

When Kid Rock threw that guy through the window.

racer

August 29th, 2012
3:09 pm

I renember meeting up with my boss at the Waffle House #1 and eating breakfast before starting out on our route delivering Fuller Brushes

svme

August 29th, 2012
3:11 pm

I beg to differ with JR-my mom was a waffle house waitress and she was never fat OR ugly. WH has great food, too!

Northside Waffle House

August 29th, 2012
3:16 pm

My most vivid Waffle House memory is sitting at the Northside Drive location in 2008, looking at the menu, and then being distracted by the german roaches crawling all over the empty tables…………. Never. Again.

Eddie

August 29th, 2012
3:23 pm

On I-20 to and from SC and the only place to eat was the Waffle House 1/2 way to and from SC..

SP

August 29th, 2012
3:25 pm

Still one of my favorite jokes -

What has 8 legs, 7 breasts, and 6 teeth? Night shift at waffle house.

I do remember seeing one well tattooed, recently paroled chef with an eyepatch.

Robert

August 29th, 2012
3:26 pm

Waffle House is incredible. Great food, jukebox, etc. I’ve got family in California and they have to eat there once per day while visiting. Many good memories from many different waffle houses, my favorite:

After the bars one night my friends and I stopped at the waffle house. Someone dared my friend to chug a bottle of hot suace for $10. Amazingly, he did it! The restaurant charged him $6 for the sauce and he had to buy a $4 bottle of pepto it tore him up so bad. Ended up gaining nothing except a messed up stomach. Haha.

Tommy

August 29th, 2012
3:27 pm

One of the founders (not Mr. Rogers) could pull some sleazy tricks in the real estate business.

Covin

August 29th, 2012
3:30 pm

I must have eaten at Waffle House 100 times over the years, and I’ve never once gotten sick. Bunch of made-up stories on here from some haters. I’m 39 and in great health, and I can get just as healthy of a meal at WH, if I make the right choices just like anywhere else. They have quick service and are more attentive to their customers than most restaurants, be it fast food or fine dining. And I really don’t mind being called “honey” or “sugar” by their waitresses. It’s kind of nice.

@urethrafranklyn

August 29th, 2012
3:45 pm

There used to be one on Clairmont right by I-85, next to the cliffs (before apartments were built on them). That location is gone now, (the one on the other side of 85 is still there) but hot damn that place was the spot for Druid Hills, Lakeside, etc. folks after house parties back in the day (ca. mid-1990s). Don’t quite remember much of my time there, but I know I had a blast with a ton of different people.

Dawgrick

August 29th, 2012
4:07 pm

I was a late night diner and overheard a loud argument between the cook and two of the servers. The cook walked out of the store and I just got up and went behind the counter and started helping with the cooking!

Calanthe

August 29th, 2012
4:15 pm

Used to spend many an evening hanging out with friends at Store #10 at Clairmont and I-85 — the old one on the east side of the highway, long since closed. Some of the old wait-staff would make food “disappear” for us, so sometimes our checks were for a lot less than we ate. :)
There was a path behind the restaurant leading up to the cliffs, overlooking the freeway, and we’d sneak up there and enjoy the view. Good times, good times.
Sure, it’s not the healthiest food around, but it’s relatively cheap, available 24 hours and usually served with a smile. I still love their grilled chicken and their hash-browns, scattered smothered and covered. :)

John

August 29th, 2012
4:18 pm

My most memorable experience at a Waffle House? Eating there once and vowing to avoid them thereafter. Incredibly bad, greasy food.

diane

August 29th, 2012
4:42 pm

piss off j.r.

nina

August 29th, 2012
4:46 pm

I grew up where there are no Waffle Houses, so my first experience had to be at 2am in Murfreesboro, TN. Our waitress was telling a regular at the counter that she “took her shirt off in front of her boyfriend, and he looked away. what the hell!” My friends, being guys, did a re-enactment of this for her before we left, which had her cracking up too.

Pete

August 29th, 2012
4:47 pm

Excellent company, well managed. Considering the hardships of running a restaurant and pleasing customers since so many restaurants go out of business every day. My memory is traveling out of the country and rushing to the WH for my first stop.

Mountain Man

August 29th, 2012
4:59 pm

Been many, many times, but had no recollections after I sobered up. Based on the police reports, I must have enjoyed myself immensely. Finding WH was out of hash browns, another friend’s police report stated he was standing on a table yelling “Give me hash browns or give me death!” No hash browns for him, just two hots and a cot.

Jason

August 29th, 2012
5:06 pm

What happened with the new flagship Waffle House that was suppose to be built on Centennial Olympic Park? There was a bunch of fanfare when announced and was scheduled to open this past spring. Did Waffle House change their mind?

Boca Baby

August 29th, 2012
5:08 pm

Hearing my 3 year old granddaughter pray “God bless our food and God bless Waffle House.”

pb

August 29th, 2012
5:30 pm

Yes, jr, piss off.

Waffle House is an institution! Food no worse there than any fast food joint, and staff/waitresses more interesting. Good old everyday folks eat there. But one waitress there once told me she had been there 5 years, and never got a pay raise. Kind of sad. But guess she still liked it enough to stay.

Mike

August 29th, 2012
5:31 pm

Spent a summer working the graveyard shift at WH in Lavonia, Ga back in 1976. The railroad passed about 40 yards behind the building, and every night around 3 AM, the local railroad workers would pull their locomotive up next to the store and come in for breakfast. That is also when and where I learned to really dislike country music. However, WH remains my favorite restaurant to this day!

Mike

August 29th, 2012
5:49 pm

A few years ago, my wife and I were in Key West on Christmas Eve. We took a boat ride at sunset and when we returned we were hungry. We drove all over Key West and everything was closed. We finally stumbled across a WH and the lights were on! Needless to say we were glad to see it and thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas Eve meal.

1st Waffle House

August 29th, 2012
5:56 pm

The first waffle house is still there. They have renovated it and made it in to a museum. That’s where they are putting the historical sign.

I too have lots of memories of Waffle House. It was the place to meet after football games when I was in high school. I remember going to a party in the 90’s and eating some mushrooms and then going to Waffle House. For some reason I ordered the cubed steak and I was tripping so hard I couldn’t look at it much less eat it. I ended up bringing the entire meal back to the house and someone else ate it.

I love all the folks on here who are better than everyone else for eating what they want. Go enjoy whatever it is you want to eat and don’t push your preferences on others.

stephanie

August 29th, 2012
6:05 pm

My 2 co-workers and I eat breakfast at the WH on Howell Mill at least 4 days a week! The waitresses there are so friendly,down to earth and professional! They treat you as if you are in a 5 star restaurant. Thanks ladies, we love ya!!! (See yall in the morning ) :)

Ray

August 29th, 2012
6:13 pm

Gotta love waffle house. My buddies and I spent many a late night at the Waffle House in Bremen Ga in the early 90s. Always great food and mostly friendly service, although we did thoroughly anger a cook one night by playing one of the waffle house songs on the jukebox. Apparently he had heard it a time or 10 already that day.

230gr Full Metal Jacket

August 29th, 2012
6:19 pm

Sounds like we have either A) a bunch of northern transplants who know NOTHING about good breakfast foor (and yes, I’ve spent many years in NY and Mass/Conn and can vouch for the fact that they have no clue how to make a decent breakfast up there! But great pizza in Manhattan!!), or B) a bunch of Buckhead Betties who can’t handle a bit of lubricant with their latte’s and yogurt n’ bagels (GAG, PUKE). There is NOTHING better at 3:00am than going to Waffle House. Great food and usually free entertainment! Is it good for you? Of course not! But few things in life worth doing are!! I’ve been eating at the awful waffle for over 47 years and not once have I ever seen roaches (except the 2-legged variety) or gotten sick. If The Waffle House bothers your overly-sensitive little tummy, then you had best stay FAR away from the Varsity!!!!

230gr Full Metal Jacket

August 29th, 2012
6:21 pm

That should have been “breakfast FOOD, not breakfast foor!!! I never claimed to be a typist!

RLM

August 29th, 2012
6:54 pm

Sitting at a window counter on Peachtree st. one late night a woman slowly at no more than 10 miles an hour drove down the sidewalk in front of me between the building and a light pole. The thing is it was too narrow for her car and she left one side on the ground almost. Did not even know she was doing it. Life happens at Waffle House.

Drifter/ ex mental patient

August 29th, 2012
6:58 pm

I lived out on the highways for many years, & the kindest souls in the world are Waffle House waitresses ( & cooks). Clean up the parking lot, from Albuquerque to Denver to Amarillo to, yes, the I-20/Panola Road Waffle House & ’bout all those in between. Miracle I’m still alive. Thanks WH.