Waffle House debate in Downtown Woodstock

Hot Dog Heaven

Update: July 26. Waffle House corporate has withdrawn its application for a location in downtown Woodstock. Council Members never even cast a final vote. We may never really know if it is because they didn’t receive the variances they were requesting, or if the public opinion surveys opposing it made the difference.  Here’s the complete story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. 

Update: The July 7th vote from the Planning and Zoning committee passed.

There has been talk for several months now about the possibility of a Waffle House moving into Downtown Woodstock in the location currently occupied by Hot Dog Heaven. Some have expressed concerns about whether it’s a good fit for a restaurant chain, to locate in an area that is predominantly independently owned businesses.

To be fair, Downtown Woodstock already has franchise restaurant chains in J. Christopher’s, Pure and the Salt Factory Pub. The answer to the debate will be determined very soon; the Planning and Zoning committee will vote on July 7th, and the final decision will be made as the Woodstock City Council will vote on the issue on July 25th.

Barney and Becky Wentzel, owners of Hot Dog Heaven, have been very open about their desire to sell their business. The two have operated Hot Dog Heaven for 13 years and are ready to retire. They have reached out to several other restaurants to take over their location, but so far Waffle House has been the only restaurant to make an offer.

Downtown WoodstockAccording to The Good Group, the Wentzel’s representatives, Waffle House desires to create walkable diners similar to the original Waffle House that opened on Labor Day in 1955 in the Town of Avondale Estates near Decatur. Waffle House’s most recent walkable downtown diner opened early this year in Decatur.

Although there are two other Woodstock Waffle House locations, neither is walkable to Downtown Woodstock. If Waffle House is approved to come to downtown, the change will include a much needed clean-up of the corner building which will make way for future road improvements.

The look for the proposed Waffle House will follow the style of Woodstock’s core downtown district, as they have hired the same architectural firm that designed most of Downtown Woodstock. The renderings below show the two possible looks:
Waffle House in Downtown WoodstockWaffle House in Downtown Woodstock

If approved, it could be a year or more before it would open, pending building permits and construction time. If it is not approved, the Wentzel’s say they will leave the building vacant.

We have been big fans of Hot Dog Heaven over the years (even going so far as to bring them t-shirts from other hot dog establishments for their famous wall of shirts!) and we wish them all the best. We are anxious to find out what will become of this potential new development, just like the rest of you. Stay tuned!

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