“[The founders and designers] went with a shoebox design that turned, so we could get a more narrow lot,” Warner said.
The sixth Waffle House, which used a “shoebox” design by Paul Schulte, opened in November 1961 near Moreland and Glenwood avenues in Atlanta. Schulte’s designs were close to the look of the restaurants seen today, but with a pitched roof. Clifford Nahser, a Roswell architect, took over the designs, starting with the seventh Waffle House, in 1962 in East Point. It was with this unit that the shoebox and flat roof that has become associated with Waffle House took shape.
“The inside configures a little differently, depending on how many booths and counter seats,” Warner said. “We keep the small footprint to keep the grill out front for the experience. That’s a big part of the experience for customers, hearing their orders called out and seeing it cooked. It’s a main driving factor for not going to the bigger restaurant and for wanting to keep that smaller footprint.”
While the restaurant’s size has not changed much in the past 60 years, the logo has evolved from a script that originally looked like syrup, Warner said.
The block type didn’t come around until the early ‘60s, when the company began placing the logo on high rises near interstates and highways to attract travelers. The block type and tiles were distinctive and easy to see from the interstate.
As for the restaurant’s design inspiring the waffle’s design, Warner simply said the shape was “based on the commercial waffle irons in the ’50s and ‘60s. They then added the imprinted logos. They just liked that type of waffle, a traditional waffle.”
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