Sumter Waffle House stays busy during Dorian with vouchers for line workers


For years, Waffle House restaurants have been considered a staple for breakfast-lovers, even during natural disasters.

The chain has received nationwide attention for its affinity to stay open in the most hurricane-ravaged parts of cities, offering refuge for journalists who need to dry off and charge their electronics so they can keep working and for residents needing a safe place to escape and a warm meal to eat. Meters have been created to show if a Waffle House has to close, the area is facing a worst-case scenario storm.

Sumter was spared from Hurricane Dorian in Thursday's early morning hours with only a light rain and wind, but the Waffle House at 1350 Broad St. across the street from Walmart might have been the busiest place in town before 8 a.m.

A full crew was working, and the grill was wide open, serving up plenty of waffles, eggs, grits, bacon and biscuits when visited early Thursday.

At 7:45 a.m., store Manager Cory Scott said it was mostly “just regulars” in the small chain restaurant at the time, but he had served about 25 utility workers from Black River Electric Cooperative and associated contractors an hour before. Those line workers were on their way to coastal counties to provide support and help to hurricane-affected areas.

Scott, 30 and from Sumter, said the restaurant has a food-voucher program set up with Black River where workers can eat for free. A Black River human resource representative will come and pay for the meals later, he said.

“It was a parking lot full of bucket trucks early this morning,” Scott said.