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Waffle Houses bustling despite holiday

By Justin Boron

jboron@news-daily.com

There are only a few businesses in Georgia, where on Thanksgiving Day the parking lots were full and the staff went through the motions like another busy day.

One of them was the Waffle House off Interstate 75 in Morrow.

Eric Strickland, 29, and Wendel Stephens, 32, kicked off the day of massive food consumption with a hearty breakfast there.

The brothers said they just wanted to spend some time with each other before they started “house-hopping” to visit other family members and eat turkey dinner.

Restaurants and stores were mostly deserted Thursday in Clayton and Henry counties.

But not Waffle House. Renown for its pledge to stay open through power-outages, disasters and holidays that can shut down entire towns, these restaurants were jam packed Thanksgiving morning.

“I knew why we were here,” Strickland said. “Why are there so many other people here on Thanksgiving?”

Robert Ashe, 45, said he was dining under one of the yellow-and-brown striped rooftops because his own restaurant near Forest Park was closed for the holiday. He also said he was taking in a hearty meal before hitting a sale at Sport's Authority, one of the handful of other establishments open on Thanksgiving Day.

Sonya West and her two children, Rachel, 11, and Chris, 12, were fresh off a plane from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas when they headed into one of the more than two-dozen, 24-hour cafes in the area for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner snack.

West said she wanted take care of the “hungry monster” before the three headed south on Interstate 75 for dinner with family in Milledgeville.

“We're not trying to get stuffed,” she said, “just knock out that hungry monster.”

For employees at the store on Ga. Highway 20 in McDonough, it was mostly a normal day. They offered the full menu, but no turkey dinner.