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Plaque commemorating Reddit co-founder's entrepreneurial 'epiphany' vanishes from Charlottesville Waffle House

The Waffle House off U.S. 29 just north of Charlottesville is known for two things: 24-hour breakfast and a billion-dollar business idea.

It was there, specifically at Booth 19, where Alexis Ohanian, University of Virginia alumnus and co-founder of Reddit — the social media platform today known as the “Front Page of the Internet” — says he first had the idea to start his own company.

Roughly a year ago, the Waffle House installed a plaque in that very booth to commemorate Ohanian’s “epiphany,” featuring a quote from the Wahoo who is now worth an estimated $70 million.

“Waffle House changed my life… I was going to be a lawyer and then I walked out of the LSAT to go get breakfast. I never looked back,” it read.

The plaque recently “walked out” of the Waffle House itself, apparently stolen by a customer.

“It was there, and then it wasn’t,” an employee told The Daily Progress Monday.

It’s unclear how long the plaque has been missing. Employees estimate it’s been roughly a month since anyone noticed it had vanished.

Whoever ran off with the plaque likely had a plan: It had been securely fastened to the wall and likely required a screwdriver for removal. Two bronze fixtures now jut out of the windowsill above the booth, where the plaque previously had been attached.

Ohanian spoke of his Waffle House epiphany during his remarks as commencement speaker for the class of 2021. He was planning to be a lawyer, he told students. But 30 minutes into his law school admission test, he decided he was hungry. He left the room and went straight to the Waffle House north of town.

“That place is amazing for waffles and epiphanies,” he said. “While I was there in Booth 19, I decided I probably shouldn’t be a lawyer if I walked out of the LSAT and instead I should start a startup. So if it weren’t for being hungry, I don’t think I’d have ever started Reddit.”

Ohanian has visited that restaurant several times since, including last October when he visited to thank staff for the plaque, which was installed in April 2023.

“I’m back at UVA and this had to be my first stop,” he wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “I really do love Waffle House and stop by every time I come back to Charlottesville. Thank you for the plaque & great service.”

It’s not clear if the Reddit co-founder is aware that the plaque is now missing. His press team did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Progress.


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