Ye Old Waffle Shoppe: A family business since 1972
“The restaurant has always been a place to escape the chaos of life, and to enjoy a delicious breakfast,” says Linda Chris.
Ye Old Waffle Shoppe opened on Franklin Street in 1972 by owners Linda and Jimmy Chris. This unique restaurant has been family owned and operated for 45 years and is a mainstay in downtown Chapel Hill; helping to establish the Franklin Street culture based on great food. In 2012 Jimmy passed away; since then it's been owned and operated by mother daughter duo, Linda and her daughter Melissa Peng.
Ye Old Waffle Shoppe has more than delicious food, it provides the experience of watching your food being prepared from start to finish. The kitchen is entirely out in the open at the front of the restaurant, completely transparent. From cracking eggs to flipping omelets, “it’s like watching a symphony at the grill,” says Linda. Guests, especially children are entranced watching the kitchen as they feel involved no matter where they are sitting. Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe also draws customers in with its history displayed around the restaurant and through the warm English tutor stucco walls.
“We’ve been family owned and operated for 45 years. In the restaurant market place that’s pretty unusual. It’s not because we own the building space, it’s because we have endeavored to keep our consistency of food and service and be genuine about what we do. This is not a restaurant showplace, it’s a workplace. From the dishwashers, to servers, to grill people, to owners - we’re all hands on," said Linda.
Creating Lifelong Customers:
Ye Old Waffle Shoppe’s consistency of great food and customer service has produced a restaurant visitors return to year after year. Melissa explains that her parents developed loyal customers by “creating a welcoming atmosphere that’s home, so that graduates come back and eat with their children to repeat what they experienced.” Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe is filled with alumni and loyal customers that come to the restaurant every time they are in downtown Chapel Hill.
Said Linda, "Our relationship as a family gave us the stability to appreciate the important moments of life. And that’s why it's special when people share ‘I came here and got engaged’, ‘my good friend from high school, her husband proposed here’, ‘young man last year asked his date to prom here’. People think of us during those important moments. We have one family that comes for every birthday breakfast here!"
Supporting Family Owned Businesses and Local Ingredients:
Ye Old Waffle Shoppe strives for the best quality ingredients while supporting other local business when possible. Melissa described that all of their eggs are from Latta’s Farm, another local family-owned business. Small details like this are what has made Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe a favorite dining spot in Downtown Chapel Hill since 1972.
Linda and Melissa work together daily as well as after hours to continuously improve and polish Ye Old Waffle Shoppe. The two impressive women push each other to create the best experience for customers possible, and are encouraged by the excitement new visitors have over reading about the restaurant’s history on their menu and the enthusiasm of repeat customers’ love for their shop.
“I’ve always come back to some relationship with the shop. Working with my dad, he taught me when I was here, how to do things, a work ethic. Being here with my mom we work alongside each other, we problem solve constantly. It’s more of a creative relationship, it’s a nurturing relationship because we’re growing together", said daughter Melissa.