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Waffle House Vistas (bittersoutherner.com)
214 points by samsolomon on March 15, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 122 comments

My Waffle House story:

My girlfriend and I had spent three rough months trying to figure out how to date each other. Nothing was working. We were awkward and poor communicators and just generally not a good fit. We were going to a coffee shop to break up but figured we would see too many people we knew.

Break ups are emotional. So we escaped. To Waffle House.

I don't remember what either of us ordered, probably hashbrowns smothered and covered. It's not really my usual haunt. But the coterie of drunk waiters, more-drunk truckers, and government cheese served as the backdrop to one of the toughest conversations of our lives.

At the end of the conversation, we decided to give it one more shot. 7 years later, we're happily married.

I don't care what anyone says...Waffle House is magical.

My girlfriend and I were talking about a similar concept a few minutes ago. Our theory is this:

When you meet someone who's similar to you, or doesn't have much overlap, you tend to get along easily, because it's a frictionless surface. When you meet someone who compliments you, it takes time for the gears to lock into place. You're going to miss the connections a few times, but once they click, they're rock solid.

Any time you initially don't get along with someone, but generally think they're level with you in most ways, it's probably best to give it some time and see how it goes. They might compliment you a lot better than someone who's agreeable immediately.

hah nah. I haven't been back to Waffle House since ;)

Sounds like you really got to know each other and made an eyes wide open decision to stay together. To me this sounds a wise way to make that decision.

For any non-US readers wondering about 'government cheese', you're in for a treat: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_cheese

And I said, "What about coffee at Waffle House?"

She said, "I think I remember the swill,

And as I recall, I think we both kinda liked it."

And I said, "Well that's the one thing we've got."

I love Waffle House but I can’t convince my wife, kids, cousins or anyone else in my family. They just don’t get it.

But I don’t care, Anthony Bourdain got it:


(As long as I live, I’ll think of him every time I see a Waffle House.)

I love the place (smoother & covered & country, pecan waffles, side sausage, and black coffee). I make it my mission to dine their with every friend I have. But it's definitely a place you have to "get" because the food is objectively bad (except the coffee, which is amazing).

So much of the appeal for me is the nostalgia and atmosphere. My roots are rural and poor, so when I walk into a WH, I feel like I'm surrounded by "my people." I'll sit down at the bar next to an old, chubby man in overalls and a scraggly white beard and be reminded of my neighbor playing banjo on his porch. When I look over at a table with a mom, children, and grandparents, I can easily imagine them as my cousins. I can come in alone, but I'll never feel lonely.

> the food is objectively bad

Completely disagree. IMO the hash browns and waffles are better than all fast food chains, most hotel/business breakfasts, and many diners.

Completely agree. A pile of hashbrowns, (country gravy on the side), some sausage, eggs, and a waffle, are things that waffle house has perfected.

It's almost: In N Out is not the best burger, but it is the best burger at what it is trying to be.

I’m a lifelong patron and there’s really no hiding it: the food is not good. The grits are glue, the waffles are corn syrupy, the actual syrup is also corn syrupy, and the meat - well I no longer eat the meat.

But as an operation and an experience, it’s a treasure.

I'm sorry you've had such a poor experience at the waffle house. I go for the opposite reason: the WH cooks make so much breakfast food all day every day that they're quite good at it. Now whether you actually like that kind of food may make you think it's bad when really it's just something you don't care for.

Having said that I happen to agree with the other comments that their meat can be poor quality, but their hashbrowns, eggs, toast and waffles are perfect.

I concur, the food is just not very good. Anyone that thinks it is clearly needs to broaden their culinary horizons.

I'd never been to one until a couple years ago, when my girlfriend swore by it and took me there. I've been hooked since. It feels like stepping into a time machine, to when "fast food" wasn't a chemical amalgamation that a soulless corporation was trying to pass off as food. Waffle House has cheap but honest food, and is staffed by people who don't appear to be miserable and don't have to hide in the back with the microwaves. It lacks the cynicism of its peers.

> when "fast food" wasn't a chemical amalgamation that a soulless corporation was trying to pass off as food. Waffle House has cheap but honest food

I always assumed that Waffle House’s food is Sysco-sourced. If so, how is it not a chemical amalgamation from a soulless corporation?

The last time I visited a Waffle House, and I ordered fried eggs, I was curious what kind of oil the eggs were fried in (sunflower, rapeseed, whatever). The waitress then showed me some horrible aerosol can that looked totally synthetic and didn’t name any particular source for the oil.

Nowadays, when I travel the American South, I prefer to go to eateries for the local Mexicans and other Central American immigrants (they are there if you look for them); there most of the ingredients seem fresher, less processed.

I'd assume it's just aereosolized vegetable oil... it is a bit of a weird question so maybe the waitress didn't understand?

I haven't actually been to one before... sounds like it'd be fun to try once, but not somewhere I'd go regularly or seek out.

At least the eggs were real

It's interesting to me how views are so polarised. I once asked a professional cook where the best restaurant in town was and she said she mostly just ate at WaHo. I had seen the Bourdain clip. So when I finally went there the first time I was predisposed to like it. And it was just disappointing.

The syrup, for example, is basically high-fructose corn syrup with added flavouring. So is the ketchup. I didn't sample the entire menu but the overwhelming impression was of it being composed of the cheapest edible food-like substances known to science. It didn't feel to me like a time machine back to an era of cheap-and-cheerful diners that served real honest food, but rather depressingly contemporary.

And yet there must be something there. Something that prompts folks like you to genuinely see it as not just a chemical amalgamation, even though by any objective standard it really is. Something that I missed. (The place was deserted at the time when I went, so maybe that was it.) Something that makes me still wonder if I should go back and search for it, even though I don't know what I'm looking for.

Roger Ebert once wrote this about how he reviewed movies:

“I've always tried to adopt a generic approach to the movies, judging each film in terms of its type and the expectations we have for it.”

This idea is what Bourdain was invoking when he called Waffle House better than French Laundry, since it’s otherwise patently absurd to compare the two.

Maybe this is what you missed.

My brother was (retired in his early 40s) a chef and worked closely with a small cohort of serial restaurateurs. He and his friends swore by Hardees. To this day I don't get it. My father and I still crack jokes at their expense, whenever we see a Hardees, "Where the chef's eat!"

If only we'd been in the south and not the Midwest, WaHo may have won the title for him and his friends. I probably wouldn't tease him about that one, either!

I have a friend who works with guys that work in a high end restaurant kitchen... they eat convenience store hot dogs and nachos after work. Like a lot of people.

I happen to like Carl's Jr. (Hardees other name)... although I don't like everything they make, and some locations are better than others.

It’s tasty. The honesty isn’t in the food. It’s in the eater.

I always thought of their waffles as "a tasty chemical amalgamation that a soulless corporation was trying to pass off as food". I'd think it's a pretty rare waffle that doesn't have chemical leavening.

I think they could improve their cooking in some respects by using microwaves more. I really hate bacon that isn't crispy, and surprisingly enough, a microwave will do that quickly when used properly. I've only ever seen one restaurant do that openly. It's a mystery to me why all of the awful fast food chain breakfast sandwiches don't take advantage of the technique.

I love waffle house because I can tip 100%.

You put your finger on it. You can tip 100% and someone else with limited mulah can't. That's what makes it special and impossible to find such WHs in SF, LA, NYC areas.

My cheese eggs with raisin toast, bacon, and grits, hold the apple butter, is only about seven dollars. I don’t make a lot of money, so it makes me very happy that I can leave a seven dollar tip and pay about the same as I would have if I had gone to another place.

Yes! I took my three boys there each time we travelled South. They are all grown but still won't miss Waffle House when they see one. They think it a perfect visit when they get to kid a middle-aged waitress who won't take any of their guff.

i'll always think of my father, who had simple country tastes from his southern country upbringing. we'd go there all the time when i was little, and my lifelong love of hashbrowns (over homefries and such) was surely born there. it was also the last place i saw him before he passed away.

Same. I took my wife a long time ago when we were dating and for some reason she ordered a pork chop which wasn't great and it really turned her off of waffle house. I've been trying to get her to go back and will emphasize on sticking with the breakfast classics.

Waffle House has been a favorite of mine for as long as I could choose. Of the restaurant chains out there it always seems that you can blend right in, something about the format brings out a lot of good in people.

don't hurt that they are heavily windowed with lots of bright lighting and always open. after midnight in bar heavy areas can be a good time for people watching

Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked.

I spent so many nights in college at a Waffle House after midnight I couldn't attempt to count it if I had too. Lots of great memories in that place.

Thanks for posting that, it's wonderful.

That’s actually the Waffle House I grew up going to with my family and ate at three times a week during high school lunch period.

Waffle House has an incredibly interesting notation system so that their cooks know what to make, and any cook can go to a new WH and immediately start working: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickgray/378694469

Ah yes, the Magic Marker system. I haven't worked at Waffle House for... oh, 20 years. I still remember Magic Marker.

Apparently they've added to the Magic Marker system since then!

Wow! I knew Waffle House cooks used pickles as a way to keep track of some orders. I did not know that system was so clever.

One of the aspects of Waffle House that's always impressed me is their commitment to be open no matter what happens. This has prompted the informal Waffle House Index: the informal metric used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to determine the effect of a storm and the likely scale of assistance required for disaster recovery.


Wouldn't this just mean that they are putting their employees lives in danger more than the average restaurant? It's got to be hard to choose between following a suggested evacuation and losing your job.

From what I understand they comply with evacuation orders, but have a hefty focus on the logistical support necessary to take an entire location from running to stripped-down and boarded-up to running again as fast as possible.

Supposedly, this is also why FEMA likes the "Waffle House Index" so much in the states where it works, because Waffle House supposedly doesn't pressure employees in emergencies to show up to work and the "menu level" (red/yellow) does also reflect the number of employees that showed up to work that shift in their checklist of which menu to use (rather than the other way around of the menu determining how many employees to call into work), so the "Waffle House Index" also will show some indirect evidence of neighborhood state based on employee ability/interest to get to work (including some indirect overall socioeconomic indicators of a neighborhood's general willingness to evacuate).

Not really no - employees are not fired if an evacuation is forced or if they can't get there because of a disaster.

As a Floridian, I have to say it sucks sitting in the humidity for a week with no power so I’m sure most of their workers are happy go in and help get people a meal.

>Those incidents prompted the Rev. Bernice King, CEO of the King Center in Atlanta, to call for a boycott of the beloved chain.

Maybe her heart was in the right place but that idea was doomed from the start. Waffle House and Chick-fil-a are 100% boycott proof in the south, me personally I eat at waho 3 times a week- it’s the best most consistent bang for your buck and the service is impeccable even at 4am.

And why would boycotting a waffle house combat police brutality? Is it supposed to pressure waffle house to condemn the police?

Activists often try to get corporations to bend the proverbial knee and "have a discussion" which ultimately leads to "commit to training" which is code for "hire me or people very similar to me".

A great example was Starbucks who sank several millions into training. That training is based on known flawed testing and almost certainly does nothing to ameliorate the problem it claims to fix. It is fantastic for the social justice activist educator industry though. At best it's a conflict of interest. At worst it's blackmail.

Yeah, I don't know how Chik-fil-a works, but Waffle Houses are very independent franchises.

My first trip to a Waffle House was quite memorable. 6am after a redeye into the Atlanta suburbs. Customers ranged from, uh.. "economically disadvantaged" caucasians missing teeth, to a pair of surfer-dude looking white guys who looked like they just drove in from Newport Beach in their 1970s Porsche 914, to a dapper african-american businessman in a brand new Porsche Cayenne SUV.. it was my first time to the south and it was truly a cross-section of society.

When I started grad school I used to go to the same Waffle House every Sunday evening in Durham, NC. After a few weeks the waitress or cook on shift at that time would notice _when I pulled into the parking lot_ and start making my memorized order (All-star: eggs over medium, bacon, grits, dry white toast, regular waffle). They were awesome people. One day I walked in the door and 12 minutes later I was on my way home (not to-go). It's an incredible restaurant.

This post took me back to my school days as well (Raleigh, NC). It was my go-to place whenever an assignment kept me late at the library, whenever I was bored of cooking but could only afford to spend as much and whenever I craved my usual scrambled eggs with cheese, toast and chocolate waffles. Waffle House was always open and always welcoming. Fond memories.

This fun thing happened there as well : https://abcnews.go.com/US/north-carolina-state-university-st...

Waffle House is one of my late night haunts; there's not one near my Miami Home, but, there's one near my place in Cincinnati.

I've been in a Waffle House when a Bengal player walks in with his "crew," and he paid for everyone's food (including mine), tipping the wait staff with $100 bills.

I've also been at a Waffle House with a woman who ordered a salad. Suffice to say, that relationship didn't last at all.

Good nights end at Waffle House -- when one of my friends got married, we all went to Waffle House after the reception, bride and groom included.

The idle chit-chat, the consistent menu...Texas Bacon Cheesesteak Melt sandwich with a waffle, well done and a sprite. Open all night, half the customers are always diverse and or drunk or stoned off their ass, and still manages to have fewer fist fights than a Chuck-E-Cheez.

I live in the suburbs of Atlanta, the Waffle House homeland. When we introduced ourselves to the neighbors, their young daughter made sure we knew where the Waffle House was.

My high school cross country running coach used to navigate by Waffle Houses. As in “4 more Waffle Houses til our exit”

The problem is, in Atlanta anyway, there will literally be two Waffle House's on the corners of an interstate exit. I'm thinking in particular a Jonesboro exit I used to live near, but it wasn't necessarily unique.

It always amused me when I was younger that you could go to either one at 2am and it would be filled with both kids like me getting some food after a party and truckers stopping for a break. Filled!

285 and Buford Highway is another one.

I've heard that part of the reason for this is that Waffle Houses only come in one size, so if there's more demand they build more locations instead of bigger ones.

I'm not a Southerner, but I've spent a lot of time here. It's still like a foreign land to me sometimes, but mostly I like it. One of the best things about it is Waffle House. It reminds me of small town Midwestern cafes that I grew up with.

Just went to a new (to me) Waffle House yesterday in Haughton, Louisiana. Highly recommend it, very friendly and a Rock Star Grill Operator named Greg who can sling hash with the best of them.

Waffle House is perhaps the only reason I would return to the South.

Having spent many years in the Carolinas, it was a special time with my daughters that we would have “our time” at the Waffle House. My wife from New Jersey never understood and was happy to let us go.

There is just something about the simplicity of the place that just makes me happy. Now that I live Out West nothing comes close - not IHOP or Denny’s or anything.

yes it is one of the few things I look forward to when I return back to the south.

And Krystal's. I don't care what anyone says. That's foods good! I have fond memories of my grandfather randomly saying, "Let's go get some Krystal's!" 15 minutes and probably $5 later we'd have dinner for me, him and my grandmother.

This is a great article and I'm going to use this to demonstrate to non-rural Americans (i.e., city peeps or just non-americans) what rural America is actually like. Sure, stretches of farmland, cows, corn. But what it really is is a place where you absolutely MUST have a car (or ATV or horse or something) or the only food you're eating is the food you're growing, and the best restaurant in town may very well be the Waffle House.

I grew up in rural America and then by I guess trick of genetics grew a personality that needed to get out, and so now I've lived in both that world and the Big City America world, and the Big City Asia world and the Big City Europe world. Things you may take for granted (and if you've lived/know rural America, don't take this as me teaching something you know, this is for those that literally don't know) are things like access to public transportation or the ability to walk to the grocery store or some restaurant, or hospital. Like, you might gash yourself on a rusty bit of farm equipment and the nearest hospital is literally an hour drive away - and they might not be equipped to handle some of the weirder shit you can do to your body, so now you gotta head to the state's Big City to get treatment. Things like that create a different mindset, around government, around healthcare, around self-sufficiency.

You might have your kids bus an hour each way to school. There's little choice then. If your kid gets bullied, if the teachers there are racists, whatever, there's not much you can do about it, and what are you gonna do, attend a PTA meeting when it's an hours' drive away?

A lot of the differences out there boil down to those two things - limited choice, high self-sufficiency. Don't be surprised at the non-ironic bootstrap language coming from red state americans - it's the reality for many of them. The benefits that we enjoy in a city might not even exist for them out there - the library, the busses, whatever. Or if they exist they're very very far away. Not many restaurants to choose from, not many doctors. Not many different kinds of jobs - if you're within driving distance of Nashville there's like twenty different cafes or grocery stores you can work at as a 16 year old trying to save for college. If you're not near any Big Cities, well, maybe you can score a job at the gas station? If there's any left?

I'm wandering and meandering here, apologies for making this post a struggle - I'm open to any thoughts people might have on this, particularly from others that get where I'm coming from, that have lived the rural America life. I never experienced it as an employed adult (other than as a visitor to home) so there is a gap in my knowledge there.

> Don't be surprised at the non-ironic bootstrap language coming from red state americans - it's the reality for many of them.

The ten states where federal aid makes up the highest percentage of the state budget are: Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Kentucky, Montana, Tennessee, Wyoming, Alaska, Missouri


The ten states the highest percentage of food stamp recipients are: Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, New Mexico, Louisiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina


I still think Joseph Heller had that kind of ideology pegged best:

> He was a long-limbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism. [...] Major Major's father was an outspoken champion of economy in government, provided it did not interfere with the sacred duty of government to pay farmers as much as they could get for all the alfalfa they produced that no one else wanted or for not producing any alfalfa at all.

Lately I've had an interest in documentary-style photography, particularly collections with themes such as this. The wonderful BBC feature "The Genius of Photography" helped drive this interest in me.

I feel like I have a strong appreciation for these Waffle House photos that I would not have had a month ago. This is really great.

You might like this, although in Dutch so translate where necessary. It is the website for a recently released book called "Chin. Ind. Spec. Rest." which is short for (translated) Chinese Indonesian Specialty Restaurant. A type of restaurant only found in the Netherlands combining neither Chinese nor proper Indonesian food but which has been a staple for many dutch people for a generation or two.

I have eaten or got take out from a place like this many times in my youth. Think MSG laden heaps of cheap food trying to resemble both Chinese and Indonesian cuisine but with lots of dishes that are neither. Even though I never really eat there anymore, every once in a while my family will still get take out from such a place and even though I have a strong dislike for the food over the years, there is a certain feeling these places invoke which is reminiscent of my youth.


The idea of eating at a bunch of Waffle Houses in order to make social commentary on the South and America sounds like an outlandish thesis topic for that dude who's been getting his PhD for 12 years now. So naturally I loved this.

My favorite thing about my local waho vista is that I can see another waho from it.

Seems like the perfect setup for a rom-com. Two star-crossed lovers, gazing upon each other every day from their respective Waffle Houses (Waffle Hice?).

I've always been a fan of "Waffles House," as in "passersby" and "inspectors general."

Waffle Homes

I think a great hole-in-the-wall meat and three fills a similar niche. Good barbecue is the great social equalizer in the South.

Meat and 3s are a dying breed in Atlanta- a shame! If only Carvers grocery could come back...

I used to have a standing appointment at Carvers every Wednesday because that was mac-and-cheese day.

And you are correct about meat and three. Matthew's out in Tucker is a suitable yet not complete replacement, but scratches the itch.

Carvers, Bobby and June's, and cuban sandwiches in my Georgia Tech days.

still grieving the loss of Bobby and Junes on 10th street. Ate there a ton during my time at Tech and for years had standing Thursday lunch plans there with a handful of friends.

Wait. I think I am supposed to grab lunch with you through our mutual friend Eric S. Does this sound familiar?

Doesn’t sound familiar, but honestly if it’s a meat and 3, with anybody who frequents HN we’d probably have a mighty fine lunch.

:-) true enough, and I'll take you up on that.

Especially if you sold a wireless mesh company and know a guy named Eric from your GT days who recently changed jobs from one consultancy to another...

lol, that Eric, yes, we are supposed to get lunch. Looking forward to it!

Atlanta native comedian George Wallace has a good bit on BBQ: https://youtu.be/xnlSHJPSut0?t=250

I've driven across the country several times, and across great distances in the South many times. Cracker Barrel is for dinner. But Waffle House is for breakfast. And it's enough breakfast to keep you going behind the wheel all day.

There'll be a couple of middle-aged white guys like myself in there. But the rest of the customers - everything from truckers, to young people there after an all-night binge, to a person or two who looks like they're hitch-hiking to their next temporary destination.

I've been in the back of too many Cracker Barrels to ever eat at one again. A lot of my peers who ended up working at McDonalds or other restaurants say the same thing. But I will always eat at Waffle House. I've worked in several and it's nearly impossible to hide dirt. Everything is out in the open.

It's funny: Reading this thread, I now know what people who didn't grow up with / don't like Whataburger must feel. I'm Texan, born and raised, and grew up around three Waffle House restaurants. My hometown, that grew from a wide spot on the US highway to a very wide spot on the Interstate, had two of them, one at each of the two (then) major exits.

Nobody I knew ate there on a regular basis. They never got mentioned at school or work or church. Me and my family ate there maybe three times I can remember and all three times it was an OK experience but we'd rather go to Grandy's or just the Golden Corral breakfast bar.

After the state redid the Interstate in such a way as to move those major exits to other locations, thus rendering the Houses of Waffle more easily accessible from the city streets but not an immediate off-the-highway-and-back-on situation, they both closed within two months of each other, a year after the change. In an amusing twist, one of those parcels is now home to a Whataburger and I regularly see its parking lot full. I'll never not go to a Whataburger and if by some miracle someone builds one inside the city limits of Seattle, I will move next door and live there until my last day no matter the cost. But I've never seen the attraction of Waffle House.

That makes sense to me. I had the exact opposite experience. Growing up in Florida, everyone went to waffle houses on the weekends, and the only whataburger closed down and turned into some other chain restaurant. After living in Texas for a few years, the locals are fiercely loyal to whataburger, but I still don't share the enthusiasm. I assume it's more about being a part of your personal identity and childhood memories than it is really about food quality.

I worked at one of the first Waffle Houses north of the Mason Dixon line back in my first year of college (soooo, I guess that was the year 2000).

It was a really great time. The hours were rough. Sometimes I worked two shifts back to back. Sometimes I had to drive an hour away to fill in at another store. It was an all-cash operation at the time. But even though there were one or two people I didn't get along with, it was still ok. Certainly not like some of the back-stabbing bullshit I've since had to put up with at almost all of my software development jobs after getting my degree.

We saw some crazy shit. We did some crazy shit. That was during the "post-party rush". Bars in the area close at 2am, so we'd get a rush of drunk people then, but they were all cool. We'd get another rush of mostly tweekers at 4am, and that's when the crazy shit happened. One night, a dude walked in completely naked. I held him off with a mop for the whole 2 minutes it took for the cops who just left to get the call and come back. One morning, right in the middle of Sunday rush, a very large woman exploded fecal matter all over the bathroom. I was the most recent person to be hired, so it was my job to clean it up. I made myself a full body suit out of plastic wrap and some drinking straws for air holes, dragged the parking-lot-cleaning hose in from outside and blasted everything down.

Those are the only "bad" things I remember, though I'm sure more happened. I remember the good things, mostly. Singing along with everyone in the shop, customers and employees alike, to "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the jukebox. The dude who trolled us all by pumping $20 of quarters in the jukebox to play nothing but "Earl's Gotta Die", which we got to stop by unplugging the machine, but it forever screwed up the randomizer, so that was the only song that would play, leading us to take a communal collection of quarters to play songs throughout the day to avoid it. Getting the underside of my car doors "buttered" by my best-friend coworker. Discussing C++ hacks with another. Coming up with crazy, off-book recipes we'd serve to the regulars. Making the grill shine for the next guy. Flipping eggs one handed, over the shoulder, back into the pan behind my back. Getting "hazed" by being made to work a Sunday morning rush on my own for an hour (usually takes at least 3 cooks, if not 4). Which was great training for the time a tour bus of old folks rolled in during the last half-hour of my shift, when I had just broken down the grill to clean it. The time the entire town ran out of $5 bills and I got sent on a wild goose chase to track some down.

I really miss "Mom" and "Bubba" and "Peanut" and "Matt".

I was 16 or 17 and pretty naive to some of the more "adult" stuff going on. I'm (now) pretty sure one of the waitresses was a raging cokehead, and I'm pretty sure one of the managers was sleeping with her.

But yeah, once I saw what the article was about, I knew exactly what it was talking about. We had one of the best views of sunrise. Those overnight shifts were hard, sleep-wise, but they were also pretty fun. And everybody had to do it, at some point. Us young guys knew we were working the late shift because the moms had kids to take care of, not because our managers were being dicks. And if a customer was a dick to a waitress, we'd didn't catch hell from management for telling the him to get out. I've had corporate managers tell me it's "not my place" to call out sexual harassment when I see it in the workplace. I couldn't keep it up because the pay was obviously not anywhere near what I make as a software developer, but also because the floor soap was caustic to my feet and cutting the tomatoes was giving me terrible rashes on my hands (I have a mild allergy to acidic foods). But sometimes, I really wonder if the treatment likely the vast majority of us have received in the corporate environment is really worth it.

(BTW: scattered, smothered, covered)

There's a waffle house location in Alamogordo new mexico that serves green sauce on the chicken fried steak and it's un fucking believable how good it is.

I didn't know I needed to try this until just now. Thanks for the tip!

My wife and I lived in Florida but drove home to Virginia every year for Christmas. Work schedules being what they were, we had to be back in Florida on January 1st or 2nd. We rang in quite a few New Years toasting Waffle House coffee somewhere along I95.

Edit: She just reminded me, no one else in the restaurant ever seemed to care.

Across the street from the Richmond International Airport in Richmond, VA there are two Waffle Houses on the same road that are about 2,000 feet apart. They're on the same side of the road.

Anybody know why that would be? I could understand if they were on opposite sides of the street but this makes no sense to me.

There are! Google Map you can see them both. Maybe with all those motels, the demand is enough to fill two for breakfast?

I've found two Waffle Houses next door to each other in Atlanta where the second one was exclusively for producing food for delivery services. Not sure if that would be the situation in Richmond as well.

Growing up in Indiana, we had unique "Waffle House" restaurants. These were a local chain that was more like a Dennys than the Southern Waffle House. I don't know if the Indiana Waffle House was started as a rip off of the other Waffle House or just a coincidence. For years the Southern Waffle House was known as "Waffle Steak" in Indiana but they have changed to the real name and the Indiana Waffle Houses have either closed or changed their name to Sunshine Cafe. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waffle_House#Waffle_and_Stea...

The '3 rules of branding' are: 'Consistency, Simplicity, and Authenticity'.

I think they check off all three quite well and that's what it is. They're not trying to be something they are not, and they 'are what they are' very well.

I'm an NC native myself and always found waffle house more of a last-resort late night meal (hard to pick over bojangles, cookout, zaxbys or showmars for day-time fast and cheap eats), but still glad to see it provided so many folks with positive memories.

Still, strange to read all the romanticising over it. Sure it's diverse, but that's just living in the south for you. One of my mom's friends was a waffle house cook, and to go by her experience it wasn't a great gig. Inconvenient hours, and paid just enough to afford a double wide and old pickup. But a job is better than no job, and a meal at waffle house is better than no meal (or gas station food).

Fellow NC native here, and my take on Waffle House is similar. The main appeal is that they're open pretty much all the time, which is nice at 3:00 in the morning when the bars are closed and you're looking for something to do other than go home. Pile in the car and head to Waffle House to eat and talk shit until everybody is too tired to do anything else. Good times.

I live (and grew up) in NY hundreds of miles from any Waffle House, and I still like them enough to usually visit one whenever I'm south of DC. People talk about other things they do than waffles, but I prefer their waffles to IHOP, Denny's or the non-chain diners near me. Many diners will serve you something just like the free waffles at hotels, which I think is sad.

I suspect some of it is nostalgia. For me, when I lived near so many of them I took them for granted. Now that I have to drive a decent distance to get to one means they're more special to me. It brings back memories when I go to one. My dad was notorious for visiting them when I was a kid. He'd give me his copies of Popular Science and invariably a Waffle House order ticket would be stuffed in somewhere that he had used as a bookmark.

In Oklahoma years ago the Waffle House near me had an all you could eat option. It was reasonably cheap. It wasa huge win for nearby students.

I had a friend who ran track and he ate enough every time to close down the place I would have thought.

They removed the option after a couple of years.

I guess a lot of students got skinnier.

Personally I used to love their breakfeast food (of course) but they changed the oil they use to fry the breakfast items and I could not stand it. I kept trying but I could not get passed it.

I tried 3 other Waffles Houses near where I lived back then and it was the same in each one.

I havent been back since, but I really miss the way they used to be. I should find one and see if they have switched oils again.

I went to college in the south. Our rule for waffle house was never before midnight.

Always reliable. I've had 3 total lunch fails this month at trendy places, until I thought "What the hell am I doing" and went back to my good ol Bluebird diner. It'd be Waffle House if we had one.

Cheese eggs and raisin toast, with bacon and grits. Hold the apple butter. It’s the only thing I’ve been eating at waffle house for 30 years.

Is “hold the apple butter” necessary? Around here it comes in a tiny jelly tub, stacked on the table with the other jelly tubs.

Yeah, but it kind of saves them a second from having to grab it.

It’s his ritual, man, let him have it!

I'm sure the article/story about waffle house vista's is good, but I couldn't get into reading with the first picture of the piece that blew me away. The composition is fabulous. The clear window, reflection, highway, bridge, the lighting, the condiments on the table, the shadow on the seats. Sorry, someone was saying something about food.

As a Northerner, one of the places I wish the most we had is Waffle House. They're so good, but the closest is ~5 hours away.

Last year I fled from Brazil to Georgia to spend time with my gf who's from the state and a Waffle House was the place of our first date straight out of the airport

Everyone looked very friendly. I guess it's not my taste, but she treated it like a place I had to visit haha

I think it's likely you can't transplant the culture. You could open a franchise in Quebec or Aberdeen but they'd be different. A case in point is taco bell: they've opened here in Queensland, nobody is making jokes about food poisoning.

It might get there, eventually. They've been slowly marching up the Mid Atlantic region for the last 20 years. There are two in Scranton, PA now, and three along Lake Erie just north-east of Cleveland, OH.


Slow is more likely to preserve the feel I think. The team helping open doors more likely to be part of keeping it real. But given time I think it would bifurcate in a mason-dixon line way. (I rarely get to the south east but now have a new goal to unlock)

Sounds like Waffle House is to the South what Wawa is to the Philadelphia area. :-)

I've only been in a Waffle House once, but did enjoy the food and the service--definitely on my list for the next time I'm down south.

As a transplant from the South to Philly, it's not even close. The staff in a Waffle House are happy to help you, and great to talk to. I'ts a place to sit down and hang out for hours at a time with your friends, recovering from a breakup, or a night out, or a hard day's work. At Wawa they just want you to get your shit and get out - most don't even have seating, and you're not being waited on by someone, just interacting with a touchscreen, then being handed your food across a counter.

The Wawa everyone loves is from a time before touchscreen ordering. What I remember from living in Hammonton 20-ish years ago, the staff were super friendly and almost always tried to chat me up -- be it my regular Wawa or one 20 miles away I'd never been to before.

Kinda like stepping into a WaHo or QT.

Last year I was in Florida a few times and tried a Wawa in St Lucie and Brandenton. Thoroughly underwhelming at all levels. The magic is gone.

I don't think so. Wawa makes great sandwiches; but, they're nothing like Waffle House which is more akin to a "greasy spoon."

The closest Waffle House and Wawa to me are right next to each other. Waffle House has a cross-section of society eating breakfast. Wawa has a cross-section too, with more getting coffee than anything else.

Philadelphia has nothing like Waffle House. Corner steak shops that are open 24/7 are a little closer. You'll see gangs and DEA agents line up around the corner at Max's Steaks in North Philly. But you won't see them sit down and take a load off.

Ok thank you. I'm originally from Avondale, the Atlanta suburb that is the birthplace of the Waffle House, but I moved up to NJ 15 years ago and have never understood what the deal is with people and Wawa. I think I get it now.

They're both places to get complete meals at hours that normal restaurants are closed, and the magic comes from the intersection of people with that need at each hour.

In 1987, I was staying in Albuquerque, NM learning how to run an optics factory to be established in CA. I was very thrifty, my Motel was $6 a night. I ate in the nearby Waffle House on Central Ave. Once.

An ex gf introduced me to WH and I got the appeal right away. We don’t have them in the Northeast so when I can get to one I usually do.

For those of us, who don't want to deal with their uMatrix looking like a fucking Christmas Tree, the WebArchive link[0].

[0] - https://web.archive.org/web/20190315210024/https://bittersou...

I am a Canadian and every time I am in the south, I make sure to go to waffle house at least once.

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