Published 12:00 am Friday, September 6, 2013

SALISBURY — Can waffles survive where fried chicken and teriyaki pork failed?
The city’s second Waffle House is going up quickly on East Innes Street and could open in about two months, a construction supervisor said.
The 500 block of East Innes Street has hosted a string of fast food joints, most recently Jade Express, and has been vacant for more than three years. Waffle House, which has its own construction company, demolished the former Japanese restaurant last month and went to work erecting the 1,875-square-foot restaurant and parking lot.
The company did not disclose its investment in the new location, but public records show Waffle House paid Nash Management $385,000 for three combined parcels.
Sam Nash, whose family owned the property for decades, told the Salisbury Planning Board in November he had turned down offers from other businesses to lease the property, holding out for a nationally known and respected company.
“We finally found just that,” Nash said.
The new Waffle House stirred controversy last year when more than 40 people rallied to oppose putting a 24-hour restaurant in the fragile neighborhood. Brooklyn-South Square leaders asked the city to rezone the property, which would have prevented Waffle House from building across from Wilco Hess, a hot spot for criminal activity.
Waffle House prevailed, and a company executive called the opposition “very unusual.”
This week, construction supervisor Norman Beals said he’s only heard positive comments from people passing by the work site. On Wednesday, one pedestrian told the Post the new Waffle House is “a winner.”
The city’s existing Waffle House on Jake Alexander Boulevard made national news in January when teen pop star Justin Bieber and his entourage stopped for a bite to eat at 2:30 a.m. after a concert in Greensboro. The Biebs chowed down on blueberry waffles and bacon.
The original Salisbury Waffle House also stood on East Innes Street, near the new Courtyard Marriott.
They’ve been warmly welcomed, and construction workers at the new Waffle House are also well-protected. Bandit, a tiny terrier who can’t weigh more than 15 pounds, guards the site like a 200-pound Rottweiler.
Waffle House is hiring people to work at the new location. Call 336-991-6915 for more information.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.