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 1,943 times, 1 visits today)

Phone scammers continue targeting residents, don’t be fooled

From Staff Reports The Wake Forest Police Department is again urging residents to guard against becoming the victim of fraud following a reported phone scam involving a plea for a donation to the police department. Many times, it’s hard to tell what’s a scam and what isn’t, but any time someone asks you to donate […]

0 comments

Arthur Charles Lindsley III, 78

Art Lindsley, loving husband, brother, father and grandfather, passed away February 18, 2021, at home.  Art was preceded in death by his parents, Clare (Chase) and Arthur Charles Lindsley, Jr.  He is survived by his beloved wife, Sherry (Waxman) Lindsley, daughter Monique Mowle (Darren), sons Eric Sherman and Jeremy Lindsley (Lisa), siblings Susan Fusca (Domenick), […]

0 comments

Alvin John Hamm Jr., 80

Alvin John Hamm, Jr., age 80, of Wake Forest, NC passed away February 17, 2021 after several years fighting pulmonary fibrosis complicated by pulmonary hypertension. A funeral service will be held Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 1:30 PM at Richland Creek Community Church, 3229 Burlington Mills Road, Wake Forest, NC. The family will receive friends […]

0 comments

DMV starts offering altered road tests for teen drivers

From WSJ Staff Reports North Carolina’s Division of Motor Vehicles has started offering road tests to teen drivers again. The DMV had largely stopped the tests last March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The agency had waived the driver’s test requirement for most people seeking their first North Carolina license. But the policy […]

0 comments

Power outage hits Woodfield Creek Drive area

From WSJ Staff Reports Approximately 200 Wake Forest Power customers in the vicinity of Woodfield Creek Drive are without power. The outage is the result of a blown transformer. Electric crews are responding, but there is no estimated time for when power will be restored. (Visited 15 times, 1 visits today) Share via: 0 Shares […]

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.