It took years to find the new location, and longer than expected to finish construction, but employees are in the midst of training, and Shoney’s returns to the Haywood County menu on Monday, Nov. 11, said owner Gary Lowe.
“We open Monday at 7 a.m., forever,” Lowe said. “Our operating hours right now are 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.”
The new Shoney’s of Waynesville, located on Old Asheville Highway between Lowe’s Home Improvement and Junaluska Animal Hospital, is the third time Lowe has opened the restaurant in Haywood County, he said.
“I’ve been in Shoney’s for 54 years,” Lowe said. “This is the seventh store that I’ve taken from the dirt.”
Lowe’s first Shoney’s operated on Russ Avenue from 1979 to 1997. The second store was closed in 2014 to make room for a new interchange at exit 104 of U.S. 23-74 — just down the road from the new location.
The new Shoney’s was first announced in 2017, and people have become impatient during the two years it took to build and open the store, Lowe said.
“We’ve had some problems, and it’s not been an easy task,” Lowe said. “We’re 20 months into a six-month build, if that’ll tell you anything.”
Customers’ patience will pay off when they visit the 5,500 square-foot restaurant with seating for 153 diners, Lowe said. Offered alongside the fresh-made food is a limited bar serving beer and wine, and outside dining will be available at a later date, Lowe said.
“It’s taken longer than I wanted to,” Lowe said. “We built a beautiful store.”
Shoney’s is still hiring for most positions, and looks to staff a total of 60 employees, Lowe said.
“We’ll be short-staffed, that worries me, but every business you see has got a help-wanted sign on it,” Lowe said. “We just want to make sure we have enough people to take care of our guests.”
In the midst of staff training ahead of opening day, Lowe said he was happy to be back open in Haywood County.
“Everybody seems super excited about it, and so are we,” Lowe said.