Huddle House coming to Ironton

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2007

First Portsmouth, then Flatwoods, Ky. and now Ironton.

The franchise restaurant Huddle House is expanding into the Tri-State and has chosen Ironton as the next spot to open one of its stores.

Debra Webb, franchise development director for the Huddle House chain, said the reason Ironton was chosen was because it’s their kind of town.

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“Huddle House is very specific to be the hometown, neighborhood diner,” she said. “We actually don’t look in major metropolitan areas. Our food seems to fit better in the small towns.”

She said the company typically puts in restaurants in towns with populations between 10,000 and 25,000.

The Huddle House menu includes breakfast food like country ham, waffles, hash browns and dinner foods like hamburgers, BBQ sandwiches and ribeyes.

The small town strategy goes back to Huddle House’s roots. The Sparks family had the restaurant and got the name for the football fans who would “huddle up” at the restaurant after games.

“The families of the players on their son’s high school football team would get the name,” Webb said. “The fact we are franchise driven is why you don’t see thousands of Huddle Houses, yet.”

The chain got their start in Georgia in 1966 and has been expanding since then. It is currently building throughout the Midwest. It has recently built a distribution center in Arkansas to supply those stores.

Webb said they would be in Ironton after the first of the year to scope out sites and to talk to potential franchise owners.

“We’re coming,” she said. While she is here, she will also be speaking to people in Wheelersburg and Gallipolis about opening stores.

“Ironton, Flatwoods, Ashland, Westwood, Portsmouth, these are very much the type of communities we like,” Webb said. “Our franchises are from the community and they are generally very involved in the community and they just want to have the restaurant everyone will come to.”