TODAY IN HISTORY: Waffle House opened its doors 68 years ago in metro Atlanta

After Unit 1 opened, there were no plans for another Unit, but the first restaurant established the Waffle House tradition of providing the friendliest service in town. Unit 2 was opened two years later.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — For decades, Waffle House has been serving us scattered, smothered and covered food we’ve all come to love. On Saturday, it celebrates a pretty big birthday.

The first Waffle House opened its doors on this day 68 years ago on Sept. 5, 1955.

Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner founded the beloved restaurant at 2719 East College Avenue in Avondale Estates, Georgia.

Rogers and Forkner were neighbors. Rogers worked for the Toddle House restaurant chain while Forkner was in the real estate business. The two men decided that their city needed a 24-hour restaurant and Waffle House was born.

“We are not in the food business. We are in the people business,” is what Rogers would always say.

Under Rogers’ and Forkner’s leadership, the chain grew to 400 restaurants by the end of the 1970s. They stepped out of the day-to-day running of the business later that decade. Both Rogers and Forkner died just a month apart from each other in 2017.

Waffle House has become a national treasure since it first opened. It now operates more than 1,700 restaurants in 25 states.

What was life like back in 1955? Dwight Eisenhower was president, the Cleveland Browns were NFL champs and minimum wage was $1.00.

A new car cost an average of $1,910 while a new house cost $10,950. Movie tickets cost 75 cents and drivers paid 23 cents a gallon for gas.

Of course, the food was cheaper, too. Here’s a look back at just some of the menu items and how much they cost in 1955:

  • Coca-Cola: 10 cents
  • Hashbrown potatoes: 20 cents
  • Waffles: 40 cents
  • Eggs: 40 cents
  • Filet mignon: $1.50

Want more Waffle House trivia? Take our virtual tour through the Waffle House museum. It’s a real place you can visit!