EAT NOW AT WADDLES!
You know that's the call of the famous Waddles restaurant, if you've been a Portland resident for a decade or more! As familiar a phrase to all Portlanders as "Wake Up! Wake Up!" was.
Crossing over the bridge from Vancouver, WA or driving toward the I-5 bridge, you could not miss the large red sign, a clock that seemed to keep perfect time (you had to know when it was time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!), and the cute yellow duck, all beckoning you to come and dine.
Whether you took them up on the offer or not, Waddles was a fond piece of Portland, Oregon history to everyone.
Opened in 1945 by Gene and Natha Waddle, the family-style restaurant, located at 9020 NE Vancouver Way, off of the Jantzen Beach exit, served delicious meals for 60 years.
In the early days of the landmark Waddles restaurant, it was known as Waddle's Coffee Shop and offered drive-in-style food service, right to your car.
I recall there always being lines at the front door as families clamored to get in and enjoy a hearty meal. With breakfast being my favorite meal, their omelettes and cottage fried potatoes hit the spot. Large and fluffy, with a solid dose of country gravy smothering it all, it sure started a day on a tasty note.
Unfortunately, after those 60 years of great meals and excellent service, this household name of a Portland restaurant lost it's lease. Given the choice of relocating just down the street at the cost of $80,000 or close the doors for good, the Waddle family decided to close up shop in May of 2004. A sad day indeed.
A Krispy Kreme donuts shop was initially supposed to replace Waddles, but pulled out and the final verdict was to put a Hooters in. Quite the contrast, huh? From a family restaurant to a less than family-friendly restaurant.
Personally, after Hooters moved in, I hated the fact that they kept the original Waddle's sign and changed the text from "Eat now at Waddles" to "Eat now at Hooters." To me, that borders on blasphemy and is disrespectful to the memory of the great Waddles restaurant.
Regardless, there is nothing that can tarnish the awesome memories of this piece of Portland history. To this very day, residents and visitors to the state reminisce about it.
A fact you may not know: the famous Original Taco House restaurants (another Portland favorite), opened in the 1960s and located on Southeast Powell Boulevard and Northeast 82nd Avenue, were also a creation of the Waddle family. After Gene and Natha's passing, they are still owned and run by their grandsons, Nate and Jeff.
Now, comes the real fun!
I'm sad to say that there isn't a lot of information left on Waddles restaurant ("isn't a lot" is being liberal), so this is where you come in.
Do you have memories of or things to share about Waddles? I'm sure there are many visitors who would love to hear them and remember back themselves.
Tell us about the menu and your favorites things to eat, if and when you met other people there, share photos....anything you want to share. You could be a huge asset and turn this into the best Waddles web page on the Internet!
Waddles restaurant brings back fond memories for a lot of us. Share anything you would like to about it.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Salt and Pepper Shakers From Waddles
I'm a 78 year old lady who stopped at Waddles every time we passed through Portland from Seattle. I can't believe Waddles is closed. I would like to …
Waddles Memories Not rated yet
I am now 63 years old. My dad took us to Waddles often. What I remember is that we got bibs first thing. We had crayons and pictures to color. There …
Waddles: Part of Portland's Past Not rated yet
I am in the process of transcribing some letters written in 1945 by my parents while Dad was stationed overseas. In January, Mom wrote, "After the concert …
Used To Stop At Waddles. Sad To See It's Hooters Now! Not rated yet
First time we stopped at Waddles was '68, going to visit mother and father-in-law in North Bonnieville, WA. After the first visit it was a no-brainier …
Help With A Waddles Recipe? Not rated yet
50 plus years ago, Mother would stop at Waddles for the dessert that was out of this world. Does anyone remember more than I or have the recipe? My …
My Mother Worked At Waddles In The Fourties Not rated yet
My mother, Hazel Smith, worked at Waddles and loved it, Gene, and the Waddle Family! My dad, Robert Smith, worked at the first gas station on the Island. …