Monday, July 16, 2007

Indiana's Waffle House Coup

Waffle House is familiar to anyone who has traveled through the Southeast. I used to think there were no Waffle Houses northwest of the Ohio River. Turns out that in Indiana, at least, they were just hiding. When WH sought to expand into the Hoosier State, they found that there was already a restaurant chain by that name in Indiana. The Georgia-based hash-slingers were undeterred, however, and named their Hoosier restaurants "Waffle & Steak" instead. Now, however, the original Indiana Waffle House has changed its name, and Waffle & Steak is Waffle House. Last week in Jeffersonville, Indiana (across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky), I dined at a Waffle House where shadows of the old "Waffle & Steak" signage remained visible after the installation of the more widely known Waffle House logo.

Until recently, Indiana seemed to be the last remaining champion of strange state's rights: in addition to the "Waffle & Steak" standoff, Hoosier timekeeping also presented a stumbling block to outsiders - hence the "What time is it in Indiana?" web site. However, in April 2006, the Indiana Legislature put an end to that. What's next for this Old Northwest bastion of state's rights? Will they finally reveal to the rest of the Union exactly what a "Hoosier" is? Only time will tell - eastern daylight time, that is, except in the ten or so counties on Illiana time

Indianapolis Business Journal - January 23, 2006

Waffle and Steak is now Waffle House. Well, the local diners have always technically been Waffle Houses, but the Norcross, Ga.-based company didn't have the legal rights to the name in Indiana. Hence, Waffle and Steak. Now that the company has acquired the name-after a fight dating back to 1974-it plans to dump the old Waffle and Steak signs and start putting up its traditional yellow and black marquees statewide.

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