Blaw-Knox towers and Nashville

Sean Smyth
Thu Mar 17 18:43:02 EDT 2011

On Thu, 3/17/11, Scott Fybush <> wrote:
> Larry Weil wrote:
> > At 3:21 PM -0400 3/17/11, Paul Hopfgarten wrote:
> >> Why is it that most National Chains fail to make
> in-roads in to good old parochial New England? Now of course
> Waffle Houses are pretty lame places to eat, I will admit,
> and only used on my trips to Texas last summer as a quick
> meal while on the road...
> > 
> > 
> > There are lots of regional chains, and I believe
> Waffle House is one of them.  And some of the places
> that are common here are not found elsewhere.  You
> can't find Pot Belly Subs much outside of Chicago, and you
> wont find Papa Gino's or DeAngelos outside of New England or
> upstate NY.
> > 
> I suspect real estate has a lot to do with it. Waffle
> House, as anyone
> who's traveled the South knows, lives and dies on locations
> next to
> freeway off-ramps. There's not much real estate in New
> England that fits
> that description.
> Sonic's model doesn't work north of the Mason-Dixon line,
> where nobody
> wants to be outside in their car waiting for food in the
> middle of
> December. They've tried to make inroads in the Midwest, but
> it's an iffy
> proposition even in places like Cleveland and Fort Wayne;
> indeed, the
> Fort Wayne locations recently closed, much to my summer
> travel dismay.
> And yes, other chains are simply regional. Culver's and
> Steak & Shake
> are Midwest-centered (though I saw a few Steak & Shakes
> in Florida);
> Krystal, like Waffle House, is a Southern thing; In-n-Out
> has long
> resisted expanding beyond a one day's drive from its Los
> Angeles
> distribution center (though that's changing now, with new
> stores in
> Colorado and Utah and I think New Mexico); Whataburger is a
> Texas
> institution; the list goes on.
> It's nice to have at least some variety out there in what's
> becoming an
> increasingly homogeneous roadside landscape...

Until 10 or 12 years ago, there still was a Waffle House in either Wilmington or Tewksbury, off 93 or 495 (forget which). I'm guessing it was attached to the chain at the very least as a franchise, since it had the same logo. 

Sonic has finally broken around Boston, with locations in Peabody and Wilmington. The website lists a location in Wallingford, CT, too.

As Scott says, real estate is a big reason for it, but I think it's slightly different from what Scott said: In addition to prime parcels having been taken, there also is the fact that real estate inside 495 is expensive, and parcels generally are small. Those are some of the reasons why you don't see Sheetz or Wawa operating further north.


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