Elvis had Graceland. The Vanderbilts had The Biltmore. And Truett Cathy had the Dwarf House. Originally built in Hapeville, Georgia in 1946 with only 10 stools and four booths, the 512-square foot diner became the birthplace of the Original Chick-fil-A sandwich. Opened by Truett and his brother Ben, people flocked to the tiny restaurant 24-hours-a-day, 6-days-a-week to chow down on 20 cent cheeseburgers and 65 cent steak plates.
Major Renovation for the Dwarf House
The restaurant shut down in April 2021 to undergo a massive renovation. Jim Mann and Alison Storm, Hosts of My Pleasure: The Unofficial Chickfila Podcast, took a tour of the brand new location, which is part restaurant, part museum, to the legacy of Chickfila. Guests are welcomed by a life-size statue of Truett sitting on a bench out front. The iconic little red door is still an option for entering the (not so dwarf-like) 10,000 square foot restaurant. Inside, regulars will notice the familiar stained glass windows, retro brick and even light fixtures that once decorated the original Dwarf House.
Honoring Pie Maker Zelma Calhoun
Zelma Calhoun is a prominent part of the new restaurant. The chief pie-maker at Dwarf House for 45 years, we’re told Zelma still makes appearances here. Truett himself taught Zelma how to make the pies, which are served fresh daily in three flavors: chocolate, lemon and coconut. According to the current pie maker Miss Jackie, lemon is the most popular. Regulars may recall that it used to be on the menu nationwide, but now the Dwarf House is the only place you can order it. However, Chickfila has shared the recipe for their famous lemon pie if you want to make it at home.
The Dwarf House’s Unique Design Features
Head to the restrooms and you’ll see one-of-a-kind wallpaper featuring hand-written memories spanning 75 years of the Dwarf House. They were collected at The Last Bite event, a send-off for the old Dwarf House held in 2021 before construction kicked off. The notes recall decades-worth of special life moments that happened at booths and stools inside the Dwarf House.
Find 15 Bronze Dwarfs
Hiding throughout the restaurant are 15 bronze dwarfs made in the likeness of key employees and members of the Cathy family. You’ll see a dwarf holding a coffee cup on the rafters of the entryway. It’s a nod to long-time General Manager Kevin Moss, who is rarely seen without a cup of joe. You’ll find Bubba, the Cathy’s youngest son strumming a guitar behind a tiny red door in the dining room.
Mosaic Mural in the Community Room
The restaurant’s Community Room features a huge mural made up of 2,568 tiny photos of each Chickfila location that existed in May 2021 during the 75th anniversary. The room also has a symbolic 46 seats, pointing to the year the original restaurant opened, 1946. At the center of the room is a rough-edge wood slab table, which looks like a place dwarfs would eat their dinner.
Exact Location of Original Restaurant
Outside visitors can check out the exact location of the original Dwarf Grill. Ten stools and four booths are placed exactly where they were in 1946. The 1946 Pavilion is a great spot to enjoy a burger or a slice of pie on a nice day. Kids will love playing in one of the outdoor play areas. The Red Roof Play area was inspired by the red roof of the 1967 building. It’s also located near the restaurant’s original location. Another play area features gigantic waffle fries, pickles, and lemon slices.
Listen to the full tour on the premier episode of Season 3 of My Pleasure: the Unofficial Chickfila Podcast.