The newly remodeled Huddle House on South Marietta Parkway reopened Saturday afternoon with — what else — a huddle. As the bacon and eggs sizzled and the coffee dripped into the pot, the wait staff gathered by the entrance with a laminated layout of the restaurant and a dry erase marker to plan out who would serve which table for the coming lunch rush.
“That’s what we call the preshift huddle, kind of the powwow moment to get people ready to take care of our guests,” said Jamil Spencer, director of operations. “We were sending a great message as far as the importance of the day. The importance of the day is making it all about the guests.”
As Spencer spoke, cooks scrambled eggs and toasted toast while waitresses roamed the dining area taking orders and topping off coffee mugs. Many of the day’s first customers said they were regulars before the remodel.
According to diners like Lloyd Burgess of Marietta, Spencer’s words were more than corporate hype. Burgess said the friendly service and familiar faces are part of what keep the regulars coming back.
“It was like a family here,” Burgess said. “We had at least 15, 20 (friends) that we knew, that we met here. We just love coming here.”
Sitting next to his wife, Dee, Burgess said he will be spreading the word to his friends that the 24-hour diner is back in business.
“We love it,” he said. “It’s a big improvement inside. We’ve already seen one waitress we really like. The food’s real good. I’m glad it’s back. We come here all the time.”
Across the aisle from the Burgesses were two of their friends, Joan Mayfield of Smyrna and Jim Avery of Marietta, who shared the same sentiment.
“We love the food, and the friendliness of the staff and the cooks, and you get to know them, and we meet friends here,” Mayfield said. “It just makes it homey.”
Mayfield said she gets the same thing each time she comes: scrambled eggs with bacon, grits and toast.
“It’s just friendly,” Avery said. “There’s good service and good food. It’s hard to beat.”
Among the changes to the restaurant are a new entry tower, refinished exterior and lighting, new energy-efficient LED lighting, updated interiors with new decor and a refinished parking lot.
According to the company, the newly remodeled corporate location will serve as a testing ground for new automation programs, menu items and layouts before introducing them to the rest of chain.