The Waffle House Index: These Florida locations are still closed because of Hurricane Ian

Most of Florida can still get their hashbrowns smothered and covered

Waffle House (File)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s a fact of life across the South: you know it’s bad outside when Waffle House closes.

The famously resilient restaurant, with its simple comfort food, is known for staying open after a storm, even when everything else is closed. It’s so ubiquitous that former Florida Emergency Manager and former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate created “The Waffle House Index.”

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An area is in the green if the Waffle Houses are open, have full power and are serving a full menu.

An area is in the yellow if the Waffle Houses are open, but the menu is limited. There may also be loss of power.

An area is in the red if the Waffle Houses are closed.

This is an unofficial scale, not something FEMA actually uses to officially measure the severity of storm damage to an area, but it is a quick way to break information down.

That’s no exception now after Hurricane Ian.

A Waffle House spokesperson told News 6 that 40 Waffle Houses were closed at the height of Hurricane Ian, but they’ve been working to get restaurants back open quickly.

As of Friday afternoon, only six Waffle House locations in Florida were closed, all in the areas hardest hit by Ian:

  • Bonita Springs
  • Cape Coral
  • Two locations in Fort Myers
  • Northport
  • Port Charlotte

While all other Waffle House locations are open in Florida, many are working on a limited menu. The Waffle House spokesperson said that’s because of customer demand and also limited supplies due to the storm.

Waffle House has no ties to the conception or use of the Waffle House Index.


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About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.