A Visit to the Waffle House Museum

Waffle House Museum

At the end of April I headed to Atlanta for some frequent-traveler related events. The main reason for the visit was to attend the Freddie Awards. I also had a couple of other related events on the agenda with the more interesting one being the Delta Jet Drag.

Prior to heading off to Atlanta, I was surprised to get great customer service from United. However, I did find their text messaging service to be a waste of time.

Whenever I head off on a trip, regardless of the main purpose, I have to do some research to find out what else the area might have to offer. Since I had been to Atlanta just shy of a year before, I had some ideas…

As silly as it sounds, one of the top things that we didn’t have a chance to do last year was visit the Waffle House Museum. Yes,  Waffle House has a museum! Who would’ve known?My guess is most people living in the area wouldn’t, let alone tourists passing through.

Waffle House Museum

Visiting the museum is a bit of a challenge for a few reasons:

  1. It’s not located right next to the main touristy areas.
  2. The museum is only open twice a week- Tuesdays and Thursday, between 10am and 2pm.
  3. You’ll need to schedule a tour to visit and appointments need to be made at least 48 hours in advance!

A major positive though is that visiting is my favorite price… FREE!

Waffle House Museum

The museum is located in the very first Waffle House which ever opened. This was back in 1955 by a couple of neighbors. During our visit, we had two guides with us. The tour was private for only my brother and I so this was interesting…

The guides did a great job of explaining the creation of Waffle House along with the business model. We also had time for tons of questions and found out why the restaurants haven’t expanded nationwide. ( I believe that they are currently in 25 states.)

Waffle House Museum

Stepping inside Waffle House #1 was a bit of a time warp and I loved it!

The restaurant has been restored to look as it would’ve when it was open back in the 50s. We’re talking signage & ads, the counter set-ups with old menus  & condiments and even the appliances behind the counter.

The first Waffle House was a long counter with stools for customers to sit on. Restaurants with tables were added later on.
Waffle House Museum Waffle House Museum Waffle House Museum Waffle House Museum Waffle House MuseumAfter spending some time in the front of the restaurant, we got to see how the back would’ve been set up. There was some mixers and other equipment along with space for storing the goods. Not so exciting but still interesting to see…

Waffle House Museum
The Museum

After we were done taking some photos inside the restaurant, we went to the building which is connected next door. This is where it felt more so like a museum with lots of different things on display.

Waffle House Museum
The Founders

We heard more about the founders and learned that one of them still shows up to work every day. Pretty crazy considering he is 96 years old. From what I recall, he works until 1pm since he needs to get home to take care of his wife.

The museum had lots of Waffle House branded items on display. Some of them were items used at the restaurant while others were little knickknacks like watches, pocket-knives, games and other items along these lines.

The more interesting displays to me were the ones showing the changes over the years with items used in the Waffle House like the uniforms, hats, dishes and menus.

Waffle House Museum Waffle House Museum Waffle House Museum Waffle House Museum

Some interesting things I learned about Waffle House:

  1. A study was done so they know how many customers can be served in a given day. Rather than have long waits, they open restaurants very close to each other. (In Atlanta, it seems like you might see a Waffle House every few blocks.)
  2. They’d rather fill in the gaps to better serve the areas they are already in rather than expand to new ones. Based on this info, I won’t be expecting a Waffle House to open close to home any time soon.
  3. All Waffle House restaurants are open 24 hours a day.
  4. Chic-fil-A chicken used to be served at Waffle House.
  5. The founders of Waffle House were neighbors. From what I recall, one of them was a real estate broker and sold the other a house.
  6. Filet mignon used to be a popular menu item and only cost $1.50!
    Waffle House Museum

Soon after we left, the original Waffle House was locked up. If I happened to be driving by, I wouldn’t think the museum was ever open…

If you happen to be visiting Atlanta, I’d definitely recommend scheduling a visit to the Waffle House Museum. It’s not your typical museum but it is definitely a bit odd and a fun place to check out.

Find out the details about how you can schedule a tour here.

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3 thoughts on “A Visit to the Waffle House Museum

  1. you don’t mention any info at the museum on the segregation/desegregation issue. Was there nothing on that in a museum on a chain store in Atlanta??

  2. Maggie- There was no mention on the topic of segregation at the Waffle House Museum. Interesting thought though, especially considering the MLK Jr. National Historic Site is close by.

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