Hardee’s serves last burger and biscuit

Downtown Hardee's closes after over 40 years of service, but new restaurant could come in the future

Gail Epps, manager at the Wake Forest Hardee’s, spends her last day at the closing restaurant, saying goodbye to her customers. WSJPHOTOS | JAY LAMM

By JAY LAMM | editor@wsj30.com

With only three hours to go until the doors closed for good, Gail Epps’ eyes scanned under the Hardee’s counter for a straw.

Always trying to serve, she said.

“Service is key to running this place, even today,” she smiled.

Saturday was the last day of operation for the Hardee’s in downtown Wake Forest — and the customer traffic was near-normal busy, as locals came in for a last biscuit early or a thick burger for lunch. Employees were focused as if it could have been opening day — not the closing one.

Some customers were reminiscent, and others were truly upset that the fast-food restaurant was closing.

“I remember coming here with my Granddaddy when I was a little girl,” said Ashley Barnes of Rocky Mount, a toddler waiting for ice cream, and a baby on her hip. “He loved the hot dogs and would bring my Grandma, me and my brother all the way here to get one.”

Boddie-Noell Enterprise, the owner of the franchise, decided not to renew its lease, partly because of escalating rent, and to close Aug. 22. The staple eatery has operated in that location for more than 40 years. The space is listed as available for lease beginning Aug. 30.

One Wake Forest businessman, who did not want to be identified, said his employees come there every morning and usually for lunch.

“It will be a big change for my work crew,” he said. “They have been talking about it for weeks, and now the day has come.”

The loyalty goes both ways, Epps, the manager, said.

“We will miss our Wake Forest customers,” Epps said.

She was interrupted briefly.

They were short on hot dog rolls, as the last of the inventory was cooked and served up. 

“Hot dog rolls, seeded rolls, apple turnovers – we are running out of some things,” she sighed, glancing toward some kitchen equipment that was stacked against the wall, awaiting removal, and calling the next mid-day customer forward.

The good news, she added, is Boddie-Noell is looking for another location in Wake Forest.

It has been speculated that orange signage near a construction site around Olive Garden on U.S. Highway 1 would be the location of the new Hardee’s, but that will actually be a new Dunkin’ Donuts.

“We are not abandoning Wake Forest. We will locate — probably on US-1 or somewhere with more customer traffic. I just don’t know when this will happen, but Wake Forest will have another Hardee’s,” Epps said.

One outcome is no one lost a job as a result of the closing; they went to other locations in Rolesville, Franklinton and Zebulon, Epps said, and could return locally with the new restaurant.

Epps, however, spent her true last Wake Forest day on Saturday.

“I live in Rocky Mount, and I’m going to work in two Hardee’s there,” she said. “I retire in a couple of years, so I’m working near home until I hang up my apron.”

All day, social media lit up with praise and memories about the Hardee’s.

“This is hard saying goodbye,” said Epps with tears in her eyes. “I am going to miss these people.”

(Visited 1,949 times, 1 visits today)

Recent

Wake Forest advances in 4AA football playoffs

From WSJ Staff Reports East fifth seed Wake Forest (6-1) defeats fourth seed Millbrook (5-3) 30 to 27 in the first round of the NCHSAA 4AA football state championship.  Wake Forest will host eight seed Pinecrest (6-2) in the second round of the playoffs Friday, April 23.  Pinecrest defeated  number one seed Apex Friendship (7-1) 24 to […]

0 comments

April 22: Town schedules third Community Plan Visioning Workshop

In an effort to achieve the highest possible level of citizen participation, the Town of Wake Forest has added a third Community Plan Visioning Workshop to its slate of virtual public meetings. In addition to workshops on Tuesday, April 13, and Saturday, April 17, from 10-11:30 a.m., the Town will offer a session on Thursday, April 22, […]

0 comments

Covid vaccine use stopped, issue with J&J side effects

From WSJ Staff Reports North Carolina has stopped the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.  The state Department of Health and Human Services has released a statement regarding the CDC and FDA’s joint statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, following incidents of severe blood clots in a small number of people who […]

0 comments

All adults eligible for Covid vaccine in NC

Everyone in North Carolina age 16 and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. If you haven’t already received your shot, you can find participating vaccine providers at MySpot.nc.gov to schedule your vaccine appointment. What you should know: The vaccine is free everywhere in North Carolina. No photo ID or insurance is needed. Depending on where you get your […]

0 comments

Editorial Cartoon: 4/16

(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today) Share via: 0 Shares Facebook Twitter Email Copy Link Print More

0 comments

Photo: Baseball is back!

(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today) Share via: 0 Shares Facebook Twitter Email Copy Link Print More

0 comments

Wake Forest Garden Club honored as Main Street Champion

From WSJ Staff Reports NC Main Street recently recognized the Wake Forest Garden Club as a Main Street Champion for “enhancing the beauty of downtown Wake Forest and the entire community since 1924.” According to Downtown Development Manager Jennifer Herbert, the Garden Club’s impact is visible throughout the Renaissance Area and beyond. “Their many efforts in […]

0 comments

Arrests made by WFPD, April 13-15

From WSJ Staff Reports The following arrests were made by the Wake Forest Police Department between April 13- 15: April 13Ajmer Troy Cox, 33, 2207 Fox Ridge Manor Rd.; order for arrest-misdemeanor, order for arrest-misdemeanor; Secured $14,000 bond. April 15Xavier Marquise Lewis, 29, 3911 Dowling Haven Pl., Apt. 101, Raleigh; driving while impaired, resisting public […]

0 comments

EBT cards are now accepted at Publix

From WSJ Staff Reports North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services participants can now purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards at an additional authorized online EBT retailer, Publix Super Markets Inc. This flexibility will allow participants to buy food while promoting social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and will help families with transportation and mobility barriers. Wake […]

0 comments

Ferries back open

From WSJ Staff Reports The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division has resumed service on Pamlico Sound between Cedar Island, Swan Quarter and Ocracoke. Service reopened with a two-boat, alternate schedule while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to mitigate shoaling issues in Bigfoot Slough. The ferry service was suspended on April 7 due […]

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.