Sunday, August 7, 2022

At last, Waffle House opens in downtown Wilmington

Taking over the beloved Soapbox Laundro-Lounge location in downtown Wilmington, Waffle House is finally open after a five-year-long wait.

The wait is finally over; Waffle House opened its doors this morning in downtown Wilmington. (Port City Daily /CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
The wait is finally over; Waffle House opened its doors this morning in downtown Wilmington. (Port City Daily / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

WILMINGTON — It’s been a long wait, but customers can finally be seated at the Waffle House downtown.

Waffle House opened its doors this morning at 7 a.m.

RELATED: Charm and chains: The commercialization of historic downtown Wilmington

For five years, the historic downtown spot has been awaiting occupancy. The storefront at 255 North Front St. hosted the Soapbox Laundro-Lounge for 12 years, a cherished local venue for live music. The Soapbox fostered a community of music-lovers and operated as a starting point for a number of big-name acts.

To the disappointment of loyal patrons, it closed in 2013. Now, the venue will serve up waffles, coffee and more, 24 hours per day.

“We’ve been trying to open this store for several years so we’re happy to have it open,” district manager Dana Smith said.

The location experienced community resistance after 2013 in attempting to open a franchise business in the historic district. Historic downtown Wilmington has specific design guidelines that shape how national franchises should adapt to protected buildings.

It appears to have met those guidelines, adjusting its branding and signage to blend within the historic Front Street architecture.

Waffle House is currently hiring additional staff for its downtown location. Interested applicants should contact its division manager, Jason Dodd. 

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