Late night waffles, anyone?
The 24-hour, 365-days-a-year restaurant Waffle House seems to be opening a location in Louisville’s Central Business District sometime in the relatively near future.
On May 24, Waffle House purchased 209 S. First St., between Market and Jefferson streets downtown. The company paid $618,000 for the two-story, 4,616-square-foot building — the former S.E. Davis pawn shop.
Pat Warner, director of public relation and external affairs for Waffle House, told Insider Louisville that the company currently plans to renovate the existing building. However, he added, that could change.
“On the inside, it will be your typical Waffle House,” he said, but the outside will depend on the building and city design regulations.
The Waffle House, which will employ about 30 people, isn’t slated to open until January 2019, Warner said. (Hopefully, the company is simply giving itself a lot of leeway, and we won’t actually have to wait that long.)
Waffle House has multiple locations in Louisville’s suburban areas, but this would be the only one in the urban core. The company may have been drawn downtown by all the new construction, such as the renovation of the Kentucky International Convention Center, which is a block away. A number of new hotels and attractions also are popping up nearby that could feed the restaurant’s business during various hours of the day.
“Louisville is a great market for us, and we tend to grow in markets we are already at,” Warner said. “We are always looking for areas that are already on the uptick. They have a lot of things being invested in in that area, there are some hotels already there.”
The privately owned restaurant chain has what some may call a cult following. It is mostly known as a hot spot for bargoers during the wee hours of the morning because of its classic diner food.
The prices are low, and the food may not be haute cuisine — they add cheese to hashed browns by laying a slice of American cheese someone could buy at Kroger on top — but plenty of people have a strong affinity for the diner. Waffle House has its own line of merchandise, and even chef and Travel Channel personality Anthony Bourdain has given Waffle House his stamp of approval.
Waffle House is based out of Norcross, Ga. It was founded by Joe Rogers and Tom Forkner in 1955, and has expanded from there to have more than 1,500 company-owned and franchisee-owned restaurants.