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Photo by Dave Flessner / The Waffle House at 7018 Shallowford Road recently closed. It will be replaced with a new building later this year. The local franchisee for Waffle House also is building a replacement restaurant on Cummings Highway in Lookout Valley and will soon open a new Waffle House in East Brainerd.

Waffle House is known for its 24-hour-a-day restaurants that never close.

But over the past year or so of the pandemic, three local Waffle House eateries have closed in Chattanooga.

Waffle House fans need not worry, however. In the words of its hash brown specialty, Waffle House still has Chattanooga "scattered, smothered and covered."

The Atlanta-based franchisee of the Waffle House chain in Chattanooga, Choo Choo Waffles, is preparing to soon open a new Waffle House in East Brainerd and thereafter to build replacement Waffle House units for restaurants it has or plans to tear down in Lookout Valley and on Shallowford Road near Highway 153.

Only the former Hixson Waffle House on Highway 153 near Highway 27 is closed for good and the Choo Choo Waffles continues to operate 17 other Waffle House units in Southeast Tennessee.

Kirk Lewis, the company's executive vice president of operations, said the new restaurants are being built this year to expand into East Brainerd, consolidate two nearby locations in Lookout Valley and replace the aging site on Shallowford Road.

"We hope to be opening our new East Brainerd location in the next couple of weeks and once that is finished we will begin building a new store on Cummings Highway," Lewis said. "When that unit is built we'll begin working on a new Shallowford Road building."

The East Brainerd Waffle House preparing to open by May 1 is at East Brainerd and Jenkins Road on the site of a former Pizza Hut restaurant that was torn down. Both of the replacement Waffle House stores that Choo Choo Waffles is building will be erected on the same site as the restaurants that are being torn down.

The Waffle House at 3805 Cummings Highway, which was built in 1989 and was recently demolished, is being replaced with a slightly larger location and will be consolidated with another Waffle House at the same Birmingham Highway exit on Interstate 24.

The Waffle House at 7018 Shallowford Road near Highway 153 will have the same number of seats when it is rebuilt later this year, Lewis said.

"We just needed a new building," he said. "The old one was 30 years old and needed to be replaced."

Choo Choo Waffles, a subsidiary of the largest and oldest franchise in the Waffle House chain, operates 73 Waffle House restaurants throughout the North Georgia, Chattanooga and Knoxville area.

The Waffle House franchise is headed by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga graduate Steve Hutchens and also owns Lookout Waffles, LLC, which operates 20 Waffle Houses in North Georgia and North Carolina, Rocky Top Waffles, LLC, which has 34 Waffle House's in Tennessee from Abington, Virginia to Knoxville.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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