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FEMA Gets its Groove Back
May 27, 2011 7:23 AM   Subscribe

FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate has what he describes as a "Waffle House" theory of emergency management to assess how bad a situation is after a disaster. "If the Waffle House is open and serving food and has got a full menu, then it's green," he said during an interview inside a FEMA mobile home parked outside a fire station in Joplin. "If the Waffle House is open but has a limited menu, it's yellow, and if the Waffle House isn't open, that's red." - FEMA Gets its Groove Back
posted by Slap*Happy (93 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Amazing what competent leadership can bring to an organization. Who would have ever guessed?
posted by docpops at 7:28 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


If we think it's great that the Federal Emergency Management Agency actually goes to the scene of an major disaster we've clearly set our expectations way too low.
posted by tommasz at 7:28 AM on May 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


Good assessment of local power supply, work force and logistics, although probably more useful post-hurricane (pervasive widespread damage) than tornado (narrowly-focused overwhelming damage).
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:28 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a joke, right?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:31 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Waffle House is weird. It's a place I would only go in event of a natural disaster--if it were the only place open--but plenty of kids I went to high school with went there for their pre-prom dinner. There's definitely a cult following in some places in the US.
posted by phunniemee at 7:32 AM on May 27, 2011


Wow. Stay classy, FEMA.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:32 AM on May 27, 2011


It's amazing what can happen when people who actually believe that government is useful are in charge of government agencies.
posted by wierdo at 7:34 AM on May 27, 2011 [27 favorites]


But can he judge Arabian horses?
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:37 AM on May 27, 2011 [19 favorites]


I'd like an update about their latest concentration camp facilities.
posted by kozad at 7:37 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Given what that much grease can do to one's digestive tract, I might suggest reversing the polarity there.

Also, what about those of us that live north of the Waffle House-IHOP Line?
posted by valkyryn at 7:37 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


(disappointed this isn't a post about Waffle House)
posted by Trurl at 7:38 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


As a transplanted Southerner, I do miss me some Wa-Ho.
posted by Kitteh at 7:39 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


valkyryn wrote: Also, what about those of us that live north of the Waffle House-IHOP Line?

That line has become quite hazy in recent years. I've seen IHOP in all kinds of tiny southern "cities" the last few years. However, you know you're truly in the South when you stop seeing Waffle House entirely and can only find the Huddle House.
posted by wierdo at 7:39 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Please, tell me more about your delicious color coded alert system.
posted by fatllama at 7:41 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a good rubric, as significant portions of the country have been recently scattered, smothered, and covered.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:42 AM on May 27, 2011 [47 favorites]


wierdo: "It's amazing what can happen when people who actually believe that government is useful are in charge of government agencies"

My kingdom for a thousand favorites, to give to that comment!
posted by notsnot at 7:44 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, what about those of us that live north of the Waffle House-IHOP Line?

Can you get a regular iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts without leaving the car? Green. Can you find at least one Dunkin' Donuts serving coffee? Yellow. You gotta go to a Starbucks? Red.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:45 AM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


phunniemee: I'd never been in a Waffle House until visiting the South, and it really has a low-rent vibe to it. But the actual food is basically healthy stuff, made from decent ingredients. It doesn't seem to have any of the chemical crap you see in frozen dinners or from some chain restaurants. It's very much like going to the supermarket, buying staples, and cooking them yourself, as long as you're not at an advanced skill level. And I've only seen one Waffle House I thought was dirty; most of them are kept up very well.

If you want simple foods, served quickly, at a low price, it's not a bad place at all. And the waffles are quite good.
posted by Malor at 7:45 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


That line has become quite hazy in recent years.

IHOP has expanded a bit, but you'd still be pretty hard-pressed to find a Waffle House much north of Virginia.
posted by valkyryn at 7:46 AM on May 27, 2011


A favorite is not enough. BitterOldPunk, kudos!

And I lo-o-o-v-e me a waffle house. Get on the juke and play some of their tunes for yourself!
posted by umberto at 7:47 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's a great metric for judging the functionality of your infrastructure -- you've got roads and transported shipments coming in, you've got electricity, water, and sewer. Sure, the phrasing is a bit amusing, but it's practical and fun in the same way the CDC's zombie preparedness document was.

And I'm glad to see FEMA doing a better job. The organization keeps getting caught up in either incompetency or weird derails into "OH GOD WHAT IF THERE'S AN INSURRECTION" kind of civil emergency preparedness, so it's nice to see the folks there doing what (imao) they should be doing.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:48 AM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


. "When you put a professional emergency manager" in the top FEMA spot, "it's a quantum level of performance than when you have a political" appointment, says James Carafano, a director at the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation in Washington.

What?
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:54 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seven or so years ago, I was back home in NC when a hurricane hit. It wasn't bad where we were, but it was enough to shut stuff down. After it was over, my wife and I went out to get some food and cigarettes. It was a little surreal because everything was dead, including all the street lights. I actually drove on the wrong side of the road for a while because I just sort of forgot that there were other people in the world. The only place that wasn't like that was open or even inhabited,was, of course, the Waffle House.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:54 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Denver, Colorado has a few Waffle Houses. Are we in the South now?
posted by kozad at 7:58 AM on May 27, 2011


I've worked in emergency management for the better part of a decade, and Fugate is regarded as one of the few people who 'gets it'. His appointment to head FEMA was pretty universally regarded as a good thing, particularly among people in the Southeast.

We were talking about the Waffle House model back in 2009, and we were under strict orders: "Every time you draw a map, put the damned Waffle Houses on it".

On top of that, among first responders, Waffle House is regarded as a huge indicator of local readiness. I was present for an ice storm in Arkansas, and all of the line crews wanted to know if there was an WH nearby, and if it was open.
posted by The Giant Squid at 7:59 AM on May 27, 2011 [25 favorites]


Stagger Lee: I'd guess that, now that a Democrat is in the White House, the Unary Executive theory is *bad*
posted by rmd1023 at 8:00 AM on May 27, 2011


I'd be glad to explain the specifics of the Waffle House model, and why we love it.
posted by The Giant Squid at 8:00 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, y'all remember back in 2001, when Rumsfeld was all hip and folksy with all those deep and deeply ambiguous aphorisms?

Yeah, that seemed so cool, before it seemed like a pseudo-intellectual veneer over callousness and criminal incompetence.

But this dude is different, he was appointed by a Democrat, and we all know the Oligarchy uses its left hand to pull those strings. Totally different.
posted by orthogonality at 8:02 AM on May 27, 2011


Good for them, I'm glad people who seem to know what they are doing are running the show. Emergency and disaster response are a key metric by which to judge the success of a civilization.
posted by ChrisHartley at 8:03 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, they have Waffle Houses in Denver? I happen to be going to Denver next week. I'm so excited that you have provided me with this information.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:03 AM on May 27, 2011


But this dude is different, he was appointed by a Democrat, and we all know the Oligarchy uses its left hand to pull those strings. Totally different.

Oh is this guy also a torturing war criminal?
posted by atrazine at 8:04 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


They're able to organize this well, and be semi-proactive in their response to disasters?

I seem some evidence of over-funding!
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:04 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


[firing up PowerPoint] Now let's go through the Rooty Tooty Fresh-n-Fruity flowchart of crisis mangement.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:04 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The next test is whether FEMA can buttress the long-term rebuilding efforts of storm-wracked communities. The question to ask, according to Scanlon, is, "What does Joplin look like a year from now?"

The question I'm asking is, are any of the elected representatives of these hard hit states or communities going to change their tune about whether the government should be starved monetarily? Or do they think FEMA should run on deficit spending?

Sick and tired of the two-faced nature of these Congresscritters and Governors. Slash taxes and spending, don't give anyone any help in their lives, EXCEPT OH NOES WE HAVE A DISASTER HELP US HELP US.
posted by hippybear at 8:07 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


But this dude is different, he was appointed by a Democrat, and we all know the Oligarchy uses its left hand to pull those strings. Totally different.

Do you have some specific criticism of what he's done at FEMA, or are we just to assume that by virtue of his being an AmeriKKKan government official he's part of the Fascist Insect That Preys Upon the Blood of the People?
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:08 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Emergency and disaster response are a key metric by which to judge the success of a civilization.

Only pinkos use metric!
posted by srboisvert at 8:11 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Waffle House is one of the things I miss not having been back to the Confederacy in 20+ years. That and Whataburger -- although my childhood memories might be clouding my judgment about the quality of the latter. Long road trips were occasionally punctuated by Waffle House stops.

However, my childhood memories miss the "Taco Burger" at Taco Bell in the late 70s/early 80s (basically taco meat on a bun, which makes the "Think Outside the Bun" ad campaign of recent years amusing to me) and so are at least somewhat suspect. ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:13 AM on May 27, 2011


The Giant Squid: On top of that, among first responders, Waffle House is regarded as a huge indicator of local readiness. I was present for an ice storm in Arkansas, and all of the line crews wanted to know if there was an WH nearby, and if it was open


Exactly. People can mock the Waffle House system and make "threat level Elmo" jokes, but all Fugate is doing is taking the unofficial, effective systems widely used by the feet on the ground. See: domain knowledge.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:16 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


You know, before I thought Waffle House was the In-N-Out of the South. Now I know it's the barometer as well.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:20 AM on May 27, 2011


I don't think the Waffle House theory is an attempt to be folksy. Apparently it's mental shorthand that's in fairly common use among first responders on the ground, and to me it makes sense. From a practical standpoint, in order for a restaurant to serve a full menu, it has to have 1.) able-bodied, available employees, 2.) a functional structure, 3.) electricity, 4.) potable water, 5.) accessible roads, 6.) food supplies within driving distance. So it actually seems like a pretty good metric to me.

And people DO congregate at cheap 24 hour restaurants during a disaster. When my entire neighborhood lacked power for several days straight after a Very Bad Storm a few years ago, most of my neighbors showed up at one point or another at the local Steak n' Shake (which was one of the few places with electricity). People have to eat; commercial power lines are often restored before residential power lines; many times restaurants reopen faster than grocery stores.
posted by BlueJae at 8:22 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


This seems like a perfectly reasonable metric to me. Are those of you who are criticizing it doing so because you feel it's too irreverent, or what?
posted by padraigin at 8:23 AM on May 27, 2011


The question I'm asking is, are any of the elected representatives of these hard hit states or communities going to change their tune about whether the government should be starved monetarily? Or do they think FEMA should run on deficit spending?

Sick and tired of the two-faced nature of these Congresscritters and Governors. Slash taxes and spending, don't give anyone any help in their lives, EXCEPT OH NOES WE HAVE A DISASTER HELP US HELP US.


Eric Cantor says if you want disaster aid, it'll have to come out of something else. But not the military, obviously. And not from revenue increases. How about cancer research? Or food stamps? Or highway funds? Government isn't in the business of handouts to disaster victims. Luckily Joplin is in the reddest part of a red state, so I'm sure they've got that whole bootstraps thing down pat.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:24 AM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


It may sound silly, but I think the Waffle House Theory of emergency management is very relatable and shows that the FEMA suits are actually in touch with the kinds of things average people think about when assessing disasters. There's a fine line between "we can get through this" and "the world has come to an end," and sometimes even seemingly frivolous things like "Is the Waffle House open?" make a huge difference in the public's peace of mind.

My area doesn't have a Waffle House, but I can relate with an IHOP story. A few winters ago we were hit with a major ice storm that knocked out power for three days (and we were among the lucky ones, some people around us were without power for over a week). After the second day, we started going a little stir crazy cooped up in the house trying to stay warm so we decided to get in the car, head out on the highway, and drive east until we came to a town with power so we could eat at a restaurant.

The two nearest towns were without power, and we were starting to feel a little foolhardy as we ventured on, but our determination was rewarded when we got to the outskirts of the third town and lo and behold there were cars in the IHOP parking lot, and the lights were on inside! Civilization still existed! Yay!

It was one of the most comforting meals I've ever eaten, and one of the funnest memories I have of a car trip with my family. It amazing how much a little touchstone of normalcy can mean when life gets unpredictable.
posted by amyms at 8:27 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Reddit is down: red
Reddit is read-only: yellow
I'm chuckling at funny imgurs and whoops 2 hours have gone by: green
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:27 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does "full menu" mean smothered, covered, chunked, diced, peppered, diced, capped, topped, and country? If they don't have the hash browns all the way does it revert to yellow?
posted by Runes at 8:28 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eric Cantor says if you want disaster aid, it'll have to come out of something else.

Eric Cantor is an asshole, too. I'd love to see him walk in to Joplin, MO right about now and tell a crowd of 10,000 newly homeless that "sorry, we can't help you because it isn't in the budget."
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:29 AM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hey look! A Waffle House!
posted by ColdChef at 8:33 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think the Waffle House theory is an attempt to be folksy. Apparently it's mental shorthand that's in fairly common use among first responders on the ground, and to me it makes sense. From a practical standpoint, in order for a restaurant to serve a full menu, it has to have 1.) able-bodied, available employees, 2.) a functional structure, 3.) electricity, 4.) potable water, 5.) accessible roads, 6.) food supplies within driving distance. So it actually seems like a pretty good metric to me.

This is correct, and anyone who has dealt with disaster response will tell you so. An additional factor is knowing which businesses have a history of catering to responders. Where do the cops/firefighters/EMTs/linemen/plow operators eat?

Ask any Red Cross feeding specialist or anyone in a regional EMA office, and they can probably rattle off a few to several "last business standing" places. If they're any good at what they do, they probably have a Memorandum of Understanding already in place with them regarding how they can obtain food from them in a crisis.
posted by rollbiz at 8:33 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not fond of Claire McCaskill sometimes, but I'd love to see her tell Eric Cantor to fuck himself and his "gotta take from somewhere" bullshit. How about we take the funds out of the millionaire tax break, you bag of shit that wears glasses?
posted by notsnot at 8:34 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I live in Oakland, ca. This metric would be useless here. Our waffle houses are overpriced and not usually full.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:35 AM on May 27, 2011


Runes, I have found that the full list of topping is a largely theoretical construct. At least every time I've tried to get capped they've told me that they were "out of caps."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:35 AM on May 27, 2011


I'd be glad to explain the specifics of the Waffle House model, and why we love it.

Please do.
posted by jedicus at 8:59 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"What does Joplin look like a year from now?"

I don't think I want to know the answer to that question.

I mean, she's been dead a long time.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, we have Waffle Houses in Oakland? I knew about Chicken & Waffles, but this is blowing my mind.
posted by clorox at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2011


So, Waffle Houses need four things:

1. Electricity
2. Gas (all of their griddles are gas)
3. Employees
4. Food

For a WH to be fully functional, it needs all four. If it's 'green', that means that this immediate area has a functional power grid, functional gas lines, decent transportation network, and enough usable shelter for employees. This is FANTASTIC. First responders can effectively move their efforts to worse off areas, as they're mainly wasting their time here.

For a WH to be 'half operational', it can operate, during daylight hours, without electricity, as it still has gas lines. This is very, very common after emergencies. This is a 'yellow'. It implies that the electrical network is down, but it still has enough shelter for employees, and a reliable transportation network for food, and can operate on a cash-only basis during daylight hours. Fix the electric grid, and WH becomes a green.

For a WH to be 'dead', it means that either gas lines are broken/down, or there's zero transportation network available OR that there's zero reliable shelter/transportation for employees. This implies total devastation, and immediate need for LOTS of crews (electrical, gas, debris, first-aid, shelter, you name it).

The beauty of the WH model is that Waffle Houses are common, but not nearly as common as McDonald's (or other huge fast food chains), so from just a few WHs, you can get a good common operating picture of the post-disaster well-being of an area, and don't have to contend with lots and lots of statistical noise.

It's fuckin' brilliant.
posted by The Giant Squid at 9:12 AM on May 27, 2011 [47 favorites]


Also: what DarlingBri and BlueJae said.
posted by The Giant Squid at 9:13 AM on May 27, 2011


"limited menu" == nothing from fridges.
posted by The Giant Squid at 9:14 AM on May 27, 2011


I love how the complainers are taking a quote out of context (which of itself seems somewhat taken out of context by the journalist) and implying that this guy seriously checks with the Waffle House as the first and only thing he does when disaster strikes.

I've done a few interviews with journalists. One of the things that irritates me to no end is how they will take an off-hand remark and put it in the article in such a way as to make it seem the focal point of the conversation. My point is, I can't tell if it was a jokey remark or something he seriously expounded on.

I saw it as a semi-tongue-in-cheek description of assessing quality of life in an area. Even taken literally, it beats hell out of the way it's been done before, apparently.
posted by randomkeystrike at 9:16 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


i'd just like to pop in here & say that i think fast food workers who are stuck at waffle house & similar places feeding hordes of hungry, tired, oft-times angry people should be given congressional medals. these aren't people who escaped whatever disaster befell the area; they're people whose lives were turned just as far upside down as the folks they serve, all for the low-low price of whatever fast food workers are being paid these days. the last time i 'revacuated' from a hurricane with power out over most of the city, i tipped the poor bastards at subway twenty bucks. small price to pay.

and yeah ... i think pretty much anyone who's had to deal with disasters, from the receiving end or the helping end, has their own version of the waffle house metric.
posted by msconduct at 9:30 AM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


all for the low-low price of whatever fast food workers are being paid these days.

$7.25 for the cooks. Waitresses get less.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:31 AM on May 27, 2011


Sadly, we do not have a Waffle House in Oakland, CA. In fact, there is not a WH in the state of California. The closest one I remember is in Arizona and well, fuck Arizona these days.
posted by hangingbyathread at 9:34 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Waffle House alternative. Definitely green.
posted by DaddyNewt at 9:43 AM on May 27, 2011


Are those of you who are criticizing it doing so because you feel it's too irreverent, or what?

I don't see many people criticizing it. I see a fairly boring news article with not much to say.

(disappointed this isn't a post about Waffle House)

Be the post you want to see, Trurl. BE. THAT. POST.

"It's 2am; still time to make one last bad decision."
posted by mrgrimm at 9:48 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


i'd just like to pop in here & say that i think fast food workers who are stuck at waffle house & similar places feeding hordes of hungry, tired, oft-times angry people should be given congressional medals.

What's even worse about Waffle House that I haven't seen mentioned yet is that the servers and cooks aren't allowed to write anything down. All orders are shouted from server to cook.

For some people that's fine, but others are just not suited for that sort of short-term memory task.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:49 AM on May 27, 2011


I don't think the Waffle House theory is an attempt to be folksy. Apparently it's mental shorthand that's in fairly common use among first responders on the ground, and to me it makes sense.

I can confirm that this is exactly the case, both for government and some of the major NGO response organizations. As The Great Squid explains above, it's a great mental short-hand for the whole operational readiness concept.

This is a useful shorthand for responders, but that's not just who it's for. Communicating complicated topics to non-specialists who need that information is really, really hard during a response. Politicians (making executive decisions), citizens (both those directly affected who need those services, and concerned citizens who want to help), NGOs, the media, all want to know what's going on during an emergency. It's important, critical, to have good clear explanations that get the core concepts across in a hurry.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 9:56 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


What's even worse about Waffle House that I haven't seen mentioned yet is that the servers and cooks aren't allowed to write anything down. All orders are shouted from server to cook.

But then you have fun situations like the server bringing you the waffle you didn't order, and the sausage you didn't order.

"Oh, didn't you order the All-Star special?"

"...Nope..."
posted by litnerd at 10:04 AM on May 27, 2011


Waffle house is great, but man, IHOP blows.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:07 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


But this dude is different, he was appointed by a Democrat, and we all know the Oligarchy uses its left hand to pull those strings. Totally different.

Did you bother to RTFA? You might find this helpful.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:24 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's something to this. After Katrina, it seemed along the Mississippi Gulf Coast that Waffle Houses were the only thing left standing.

We had an interesting conversation with a Hooters (it was the only thing open at 11 pm) waitress, who had the idea of a conspiracy among Waffle Houses to hoard all the eggs since they seemed in short supply after the storm.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:35 AM on May 27, 2011


Great. Now the Terrists are going to go into disaster areas and sabotage Waffle Houses to try to cause aid to be misdirected. Good job, Metafilter.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:00 AM on May 27, 2011


mrgrimm: At all the Waffle Houses around here, the orders *do* get written down. Then the waitress calls them out to the cook, and the slips get pinned to the line above the grill.

The same way Gordon Ramsay does it, come to think of it.
posted by ewagoner at 11:08 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, I'm pretty sure what will happen is the next Republican administration will develop fully self-contained, robotic Waffle House Pods which can be airdropped into the middle of disaster zones, converting them instantly from 'red' to 'green' and negating the need for any more aid or planning.
posted by hattifattener at 11:08 AM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Sadly, we do not have a Waffle House in Oakland, CA.

But there's a Sonic in Hayward now. So there's that, at least.
posted by Lazlo at 11:17 AM on May 27, 2011


When you put a professional emergency manager" in the top FEMA spot, "it's a quantum level of performance than when you have a political" appointment

What?


It's perfectly clear. He either means that the difference is not just incremental but a jump to a completely different, qualitatively distinct state, or that it's the tiniest possible change, almost undetectable without extremely sensitive equipment.
posted by straight at 11:18 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


a Hooters (it was the only thing open at 11 pm)

The restaurant equivalent to "I only read it for the articles."
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:55 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


He either means that the difference is not just incremental but a jump to a completely different, qualitatively distinct state, or that it's the tiniest possible change, almost undetectable without extremely sensitive equipment.

Or it's both at the same time, until you look inside the Waffle House and collapse the waveform.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:56 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sadly, we do not have a Waffle House in Oakland, CA.

Brown Sugar Kitchen.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you don't think orders get written down at Waffle House, you need to learn the code.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:59 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


In Berkeley, it's a sign of the apocalypse if The Cheese Board isn't serving.

Or Sunday, or May.
posted by zippy at 12:18 PM on May 27, 2011


Yep, there's a code.

I was a Waffle House waitress years ago. (My husband managed one of the ones I worked at.) We definitely did write down the order but then we had to translate it as we called it out to the cooks.

It's magical.

BTW if it's the way it was when I worked there, we actually got paid vacations as waitresses. And on third shift, working near the bars, tips weren't bad either. If you have to work fast food I can think of worse jobs.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:07 PM on May 27, 2011


re: Oaktown, I was assuming our chicken & waffles joints counted.

I stand by my general assessment of them.

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:22 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is great. For some reason, no matter how shady the general area I'm in might be, I ALWAYS feel safe inside Waffle House. I have gone to Waffle House at 2 am and seen a drug deal take place in the parking lot as I walked in, but inside I felt totally protected.

I think it's because the waitstaff and cooks take ZERO shit from anyone. Also, as long as you don't start said shit, everyone is welcome at Waffle House; from familes to drunk teenagers to truckers to, well, drug dealers. It would benefit no one to risk losing a space like that.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 1:55 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not fond of Claire McCaskill sometimes, but I'd love to see her tell Eric Cantor to fuck himself and his "gotta take from somewhere" bullshit. How about we take the funds out of the millionaire tax break, you bag of shit that wears glasses?

Agreed with all of the above. For the record, here's what Claire McCaskill actually said, which I thought was pretty spot-on, if not as mean as I would have been.

As for what Joplin will look like in a year...I imagine still really not good (despite what appears to be great work on FEMA's part), and I'm worried that people's attention spans will have drifted to something else and it'll be forgotten well before the town is even close to being back on track. I am planning on spending some time in Joplin in August and am pretty nervous about what it's going to look like.

Also, Waffle House is amazing, and as for this: Can you get a regular iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts without leaving the car? Green....just no. Decent breakfast sandwiches but overrated coffee and absolutely terrible donuts. The only donuts that will ever have a place in my heart are 1) Krispy Kreme or 2) Dude's in Joplin, which I just heard yesterday is no longer standing.
posted by naoko at 2:07 PM on May 27, 2011


Waffle House is OK, but for my money the best place for a Southern breakfast is Biscuitville--their area of operations is sadly limited; they should have franchises everywhere, including the International Space Station.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:44 PM on May 27, 2011


Blech, Krispy Kremes are more chemicals than doughnut.
posted by Malor at 2:58 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh god yes, Biscuitville. Heavenly.
posted by naoko at 3:02 PM on May 27, 2011


My hometown is near the birthplaces of both Krispy Kreme and Biscuitville. Yes, short-order food in my hometown is heavenly, but the unemployment rate is hellish.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:44 PM on May 27, 2011


infinite window, dunno if you're on the NC or VA side of the state line, but I've spent a lot of time in Southside Virginia and it's such a wonderful area but also really darn sad - so many struggling people. I hope things get better down there!
posted by naoko at 7:01 PM on May 27, 2011


I think the pictures make it obvious that Joplin was scattered, smothered, and covered.
posted by galadriel at 7:47 PM on May 27, 2011


The Bottom Line

Come on Businessweek, just call it tl;dr like you know you want to.
posted by Richard Holden at 11:18 PM on May 27, 2011


I was a Waffle House waitress years ago.

Whatcha reading for?

Apologies to Bill H., R.I.P.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:05 AM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reference.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:07 AM on May 28, 2011


In other news, FEMA has contracted with Lockheed Martin to purchase fourteen hundred diesel-powered, high-performance mobile waffle delivery units for $27 million each.
posted by miyabo at 7:47 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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