An iconic restaurant’s roots are based in Atlanta

Q: Wasn’t the first (original) Waffle House in metro Atlanta? Is it still around?

A: Yes, the site of the very first Waffle House is located in Avondale Estates. It no longer serves as an active restaurant but is now the Waffle House Museum.

On the corner of Hillmont and East College avenues is the home of the original Waffle House. The lot is closed off by a yellow parking chain. Across the street are the Willis apartments, Kafenio, a Greek cafe/coffee shop and McDonalds.

It all started when “Joe Rogers Sr. purchased a house from Tom Forkner in Avondale Estates becoming neighbors. Rogers worked for the Toddle House and Forkner was in real estate,” according to wafflehouse.com.

Coming from two different business perspectives, they embarked on opening a sit-down restaurant that focused on providing good food and the customer relations.

“Tom and my father had a handshake deal, and their partnership and friendship continued for more than 60 years,” Joe Rogers Jr. said in a former AJC article.

The restaurant known for their waffles, scattered hashbrowns and never closing “opened its doors on Labor Day 1955,” according to the signage out front of the museum.

Pat Warner, WH public relations, said, “The founders were awesome to work with and had a great banter. They thought they would open a few restaurants and retire.”

Little did they know that their dream would “create an opportunity for thousands of people, of which they were most proud of,” Warner said.

The iconic color scheme was “chosen by the founders because school buses could be seen far away,” according to a recent AJC article.

Somewhere in the late 60s/early 70s the original restaurant closed. “In 2004, it was purchased back and renovated into the museum (2008),” said Warner.

The building in Avondale Estates is divided into two areas. A portion has been restored as the 1950s restaurant. The other has been transformed into a museum featuring memorabilia from the past 60 years. One sign reads “Friends don’t let friends eat pancakes.”

The museum hosts 0pen houses each year and is open to tours by appointment only (770-326-7086).

The next open house is Saturday, June 1 from noon - 3 p.m.

The Waffle House Museum is located at 2719 East College Ave., Avondale Estates.

For more information, visit wafflehouse.com

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