Something to go with your breakfast this morning.
November 15, 2015 5:40 AM   Subscribe

 
Better than the French Laundry, man.
posted by donnagirl at 6:03 AM on November 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


I moved back to an area with Waffle Houses about two weeks ago after being away from them for three years. I had forgotten how much I liked their pecan waffles.

I'm actually in a Waffle House right now.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 6:06 AM on November 15, 2015 [54 favorites]


Man, I need a job where I can get paid for getting drunk on TV.

It works sure cover the public drunkenness legal costs.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:08 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


My wife doesn't like Waffle House or White Castle. It's a serious problem in our relationship.
posted by phlyingpenguin at 6:08 AM on November 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Between the time I made my first comment and this comment, I have ordered, received, and consumed a pecan waffle.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 6:12 AM on November 15, 2015 [179 favorites]


I rarely, if ever, feel more southern than when I'm eating breakfast at Waffle House.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:23 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's like they stopped at a Waffle House after the bar closed en route to wherever they were going to pass out that night. They both look totally smashed.

I live far too north of the Waffle House border. But I have tasted the gloriousness of the Waffle House on baseball trips to Kansas City. I think I had my first grits there. (Meh.) But whenever we are in Waffle House country, we have to stop. It is really unpretentious deliciousness.
posted by jillithd at 6:24 AM on November 15, 2015


I've been to that same damn Waffle House many times.

God bless ya, Charleston and your surprisingly bountiful nightlife (at least back in the day closer to post-Hurrican Hugo, perhaps its a bit genteel now)
posted by C.A.S. at 6:28 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like Waffle House and try to eat there when I am in that part of the country. It isn't anything special, but it is well-done, basic diner food. I've never found it to be anything other than friendly and good service whenever I've stopped there, day or night.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:29 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mr. Freedom and I recently moved to Ohio, and we are baffled at the presence of Waffle Houses here. Are we secretly in the South?

I used to live in a southern town that recently got their first Waffle House. The day it opened there were lines around the block to get in. My boss commented that the menus and countertops were already sticky with pancake syrup. "They must import the stickiness too!"
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:29 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I love Waffle House, but my Waffle House hates me. I prefer my Cheese n Eggs™ with a loud soundtrack of Waffle House songs, so I always pump the juke full of quarters after I order.

You'd think Waffle House employees would like the Waffle House songs on the jukebox, but it turns out they really, really don't.
posted by davelog at 6:37 AM on November 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Few things make me miss home like the Waffle House. As a kid, it was our standard Saturday breakfast. I've never lived close enough to one since I was old enough to drink, and I feel like I've missed part of that experience. A few years ago Fred Smoot claimed he was going to open one in DC, but alas.

I'm not a big waffle fan, but those pecan waffles are so so good. If I don't get that, my go to is the cheesy eggs with raisin toast, which was a childhood favorite. Is the non-breakfast food any good? I've eaten there hundreds of times, but never tried it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:37 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love The Mind of a Chef series. How is this part of it?
posted by unliteral at 6:48 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Madam, we must have waffles! We must all have waffles forthwith! We must all think, and we must all have waffles, and think each and every one of us to the very best of his ability."
posted by drlith at 6:52 AM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sean definitely looks like he imbibed a little too much pappy van Winkle that night. I am also convinced that any southern located fallout game should have wafflr houses still functional because it will take more than a nuclear holocaust to get them to close.
posted by vuron at 6:58 AM on November 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: absolutely. Just reading about Waffle House makes me homesick. I don't much care about or for waffles either, but their waffles are really incredibly good, and they somehow make the best toast (yes, toast) in the world.

Only in the last 6 months did I have Huddle House for the first time. I griped and whined about wanting to go somewhere else, but someone wiser than I insisted we just go to the Huddle House that was right there in front of us. It's great also; like a slightly gussied up Waffle House. No jukebox, though, so that's a mark against them. Toast of a nearly equal caliber, however.
posted by still bill at 7:06 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, if you've ever talked to or closely observed a good Waffle House cook/server team, it is incredible. I think a friend who works in fine dining once told me they always instantly hire Waffle House alums who apply as line cooks at his spots, just because they know there is no kitchen as intense as Waffle House.
posted by still bill at 7:08 AM on November 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


Better than the French Laundry, man.

The big difference between Waffle House and the French Laundry is that, with the French Laundry, you have to schedule your "drunken night before" like 18 months in advance. Which kind of ruins the spontaneity. Although the 18 course "hair of the dog" amuse-bouche tasting menu is to die for, almost literally.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:11 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


They call it "The Waffle House" on the video title. That is problematic.
posted by Stewriffic at 7:19 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


We used to hang out at Waffle House when we were in high school as it was one of the few places open late in our area. I almost can't go back there anymore because it takes me back so thoroughly to such the difficult place that was my high school years. It has barely changed.

I am pretty surprised Bourdain hasn't been there yet. It's definitely right up his alley.
posted by dogwalker at 7:20 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]



You'd think Waffle House employees would like the Waffle House songs on the jukebox, but it turns out they really, really don't.

Mmm...yeah.

(Maybe 2/3 of the way down, story provided by "Gay Bueno.")
posted by Four Ds at 7:21 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm on vacation right now, so I can't read this yet. I have to sit down for a while and prepare my body for this article based on the subjects alone.
posted by numaner at 7:30 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


There used to be a really charming Tumblr by a guy who worked as a night cook at a Waffle House and would draw things on the whiteboard during the long dead periods of his shift, depicting himself as a sort of goblinish thing called The Night Cook. Unfortunately for us though I'm sure fortunately for him, he hasn't worked there in a couple of years, but the Tumblr, Holy Shit Waffle House (which I take to be a reference to the brief fad of naming Tumblrs "Fuck Yeah [Blog Topic]"), is still up, with all of his amusing and impressive (being as it's all dry-erase) drawings intact.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:32 AM on November 15, 2015 [17 favorites]


Every Waffle House is the same Waffle House. There is only one. It opened in 1972 off a small 2 lane highway near a military testing facility. There was a freak event involving microwaves and lightning causing Waffle House to exist in an uncollapsed quantum franchise waveform. When you step into a Waffle House, you step into the Waffle House in 1972.

This is why you always seem to run into people from high school in a Waffle House. They never left. You never left. You're getting your coffee refilled right now.
posted by device55 at 7:33 AM on November 15, 2015 [107 favorites]


Three amazing things this Yankee learned about Waffle House recently:

1) Those butter and jelly packets on the plate aren't just there for kicks, they're part of an elaborate marking system so the grill operator can track what goes there. Kind of like how craps dealers can track 8 players and dozens of bets at once. Here's their cheat sheet.

2) The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has something called the Waffle House Index to track how severely a storm has damaged an area. Waffle Houses close for nothing short of nuclear attack.

3) Never order pancakes by mistake. Ask me how I know this.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:36 AM on November 15, 2015 [52 favorites]


Every Waffle House is the same Waffle House. There is only one. It opened in 1972 off a small 2 lane highway near a military testing facility. There was a freak event involving microwaves and lightning causing Waffle House to exist in an uncollapsed quantum franchise waveform. When you step into a Waffle House, you step into the Waffle House in 1972.

This is why you always seem to run into people from high school in a Waffle House. They never left. You never left. You're getting your coffee refilled right now.




This has been . . . traffic.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:38 AM on November 15, 2015 [17 favorites]


Holy Shit Waffle House is delightful, thanks for the link.

I have never eaten at a Waffle House.

How does it compare to things like IHOP?
posted by curious nu at 7:49 AM on November 15, 2015


I wish we had a Waffle House in New York. We have a Steak and Shake, come on!
posted by jonmc at 7:52 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK JoeZydeco, I'll bite.

How do you know one should never order pancakes by mistake?
posted by Frayed Knot at 7:55 AM on November 15, 2015


I don't think I've ever been to a Waffle House. All my florida time has been in non-waffled areas.

this is so tragic, would it kill them to put one in boca? we can't live by ben's alone
posted by poffin boffin at 8:04 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


WAFFLES HOUSE! Friend to touring musicians everywhere.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:08 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


How does it compare to IHOP?

How does transcending space and time compare to a cold whopper from burger king? Ihop is a Denny's clone. A mere shadow of waffle house. Waffle house is transcendent. Transformative. Tasty and weird and friendly.
posted by chasles at 8:09 AM on November 15, 2015 [27 favorites]


As a lifetime resident of the Southeastern US, I have spent many, many hours, both sober and not, in the warm, greasy embrace of various Houses of Waffle. A few months back, when I was in the middle of a move and starting a new, high stress job, I found myself spending my one day off ferrying some of the detritus of my life, a car load at a time repeatedly down a stretch of Georgia highway. I could feel my nerves jangling and my blood sugar sinking so I stopped at a Waffle House for some comfort and comfort food. My hashbrown order is always the same (scattered, smothered, covered, peppered) because religion and politics will shift with the wind in the south, but food is eternal. But my main course is pretty much selected at random, depending on my mood. That food right then, plus a decent cup of coffee and listening to the truckers and farmers chatter away with the waitresses (yes, they were all female) soothed my nerves and reminded me again why I do love the south so and insist on living here in spite of the fact that my particular skill set is of little to no use in the conservative, rural parts of this state.

There's a thesis to be written at some point, by someone smarter than me, on immigrant food and cultural shifts and the changes to condiments in Waffle Houses. I remember seeing salsa first pop up in the 90's (the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek Casa de Waffle brand, no less) and actually seeing a bottle of Sriracha at one recently, apparently supplanting the previously ubiquitous Tabasco bottle. This thesis should be written in smeary ballpoint pen on those appallingly shitty napkins, like so many girlfriends' phone numbers and other late-night bad ideas.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:09 AM on November 15, 2015 [31 favorites]


I've never ordered the pancakes, but once after they added sausage gravy, I asked the waiter if it was any good. He walked over to the grill, stirred something next to it, looked quizzical, walked back and said, "I wouldn't." It's a place with strengths, take advantage.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:12 AM on November 15, 2015 [27 favorites]


I miss Waffle House.

In the last year or so before we left Texas for California, I took my husband to Waffle House, which he had never been to. But it was daylight and everything was just wrong. It should always be nighttime at Waffle House. It should always be 1am, so you can get in and out before the bars close.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:15 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've eaten at waffle house probably at least a couple hundred times and still haven't ever gotten a waffle there. hash Browns are the thing to get.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:17 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


At 3 am, you wait if you have to for the booth by the bathrooms. So you have your back to a wall and can see everything unfold. The people who close down bars or are given ten bucks to leave one come because they are fried or very hungry tend to throw things and they usually miss their target, so you have to be on your toes as you eat your omelet. They'll make you a new one if it has bits of glass in it when you are half done. It's kinda like "Duck, duck, goose" with fights and frisbeed bits of plates.

Most of the locations have switched to plastic plates and cups. Not this one.

I still go.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:28 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


How does it compare to IHOP?

IHOP will serve you perfectly acceptable food. You go there, you get something simple and filling that tastes how you expect it to taste. Few people love IHOP after the age of 13, but few people hate IHOP (unless they just hate all chain restaurants). Gather a hundred random strangers and say "Who wants to go to IHOP?" and you will get about 80 who say "Eh... I guess...."

Waffle House, on the other hand, will serve you any fucking thing they can assemble from ingredients at a molecular level. You love it or you hate or you've never been to one. Gather a hundred random strangers and say "Who wants to go to Waffle House?" and you will get exactly zero who say "Eh... I guess...."
posted by Etrigan at 8:32 AM on November 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


Waffle Houses close for nothing short of nuclear attack.

After Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Waffle Houses were the first businesses to reopen. Since nobody had cash (the banks weren't open either) those became the first WH in the country to take credit cards. (Now they all do.) When they rebuilt the new structures were elevated on four feet of earth, and the new buildings are entirely tile and concrete so they can quickly be gutted and refitted if they are engulfed by another storm surge. They look like fallout shelters.

I have also eaten in a WH which was the only business open during a wide area power outage in Brookhaven, MS. They have an entire protocol for operating without electric power, including making coffee on makeshift stands on the natural gas powered stove, and a prepared limited menu.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:34 AM on November 15, 2015 [44 favorites]


When they rebuilt the new structures were elevated on four feet of earth, and the new buildings are entirely tile and concrete so they can quickly be gutted and refitted if they are engulfed by another storm surge.

That might be the answer to a question I've had for a while now. There is a Waffle House near our home that was torn down a few years ago. That road has seen multiple brand new businesses go up, so we were curious to see what eventually got built there. Construction started immediately after the Waffle House was torn down and the new building ended up being... another Waffle House. Exact same footprint in the exact same spot.

And, yes, there were lines around the block when it opened again and it was packed for weeks after.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:48 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Akron has one of the furthest-north Waffle Houses, but I haven't been there since I was a kid. As an adult, if I want something at 2am, I go to Denny's. Because if I want a waffle, I go to a local place called Wally Waffle that is sadly not open at 2am, but has waffles that blow anybody else out of the water around here. Denny's, late nights, has food that is more consistently edible and drunks who are somewhat less obnoxious. It's my theory that people who are too drunk to remember not to eat there go to Waffle House, so I'm kind of glad they exist, to save other places the trouble of dealing with those customers. I'm still not sure how even their promo pictures manage to look so unappetizing.
posted by Sequence at 8:51 AM on November 15, 2015


Bourdain is always eating. CNN sends him here and there so he can eat and tell us how good the food is that he eats and that we get to watch him eat.
posted by Postroad at 9:01 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I salute the honorable tribe of House Waffle and pay my respect to its fierce warriors.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:08 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


1f2frfbf: “But my main course is pretty much selected at random, depending on my mood.”
That's funny because I always get the same thing. To the point I order it in the lingo.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:18 AM on November 15, 2015


Man, I need a job where I can get paid for getting drunk on TV.

You can get drunk enough to wind up on TV with any job. The bar may be a bit higher is all.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:25 AM on November 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I fail to understand the appeal of Anthony Bourdain. He completely lacks charisma and yet is so smug and self-satisfied. I'm certain watching him more than a few minutes would give me hives.
posted by dashDashDot at 9:40 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's funny because I always get the same thing. To the point I order it in the lingo.

You are a good, true, salt-of-the-earth, human. My grandfather did the same. After a while he didn't even have to say anything, just nod. Sadly, I've never lived anywhere long enough to pull that trick.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:42 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've tried to eat at Waffle House a couple of times without success. Once was very weird. I sat down at the counter and was completely ignored so I left after several minutes. The other time I opened the door and was met by a fog of cigarette smoke so thick that I turned around and walked away. I'm not in Waffle House territory often but when I am it is not a place on my radar to try again.
posted by plastic_animals at 9:42 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also regarding Anthony Bourdain: I've never watched his show so I have no frame of reference, but does he always narrate like he's trying to do a Werner Herzog impression?
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 10:03 AM on November 15, 2015


I hate Bourdain, in large part due to his narration style (but also because he comes off as a general try-hard aging coolie to me). Yes, it's always like that. It's so canned and predictable that I can actually imitate it pretty accurately talking about whatever.
posted by still bill at 10:08 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Last weekend I woke up and I really, really wanted Waffle House. Funnily enough I live not far from the Westernmost Waffle House in the US so I thought about going out to get a pecan waffle.

Somewhere between finding my keys and getting my shoes on I realized that I didn't really miss pecan waffles, or not that much anyway, and that I was hungry for something else: for living in a small Southern town, for nothing else being open past 9 p.m., for going to the Awful Waffle on a whim after a night out, for being the kind of people that the servers are happy to see but the other customers eye askance as you pile into two or three or four booths, a big raggedy mess of dudes with long hair and women in combat boots and tech geeks and theater nerds and writers, because the WaHo is the place for misfits as much as it is for tobacco farmers and grandparents and the volunteer firefighters who work just across the river. A pecan waffle is the taste of being homesick for a particular time and place, and a chosen family you don't live with anymore.

Also, the Waffle House in Robertson County, Tennessee has an armed security guard there on Friday and Saturday nights. For the fullest experience of the South, I cannot recommend going to eat there at around 1 a.m. enough.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:19 AM on November 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


I live in Atlanta and there are Waffle Houses everywhere. I hate their food, the counters and floors are always disgusting, and they use MARGARINE. I really don't get the hype and feel like everyone has just agreed to fake their enjoyment of it. When I was younger it was a good place to hang out because you could buy cigarettes from a machine and smoke inside, but even then I wouldn't touch the food.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 10:27 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


A pecan waffle is the taste of being homesick for a particular time and place, and a chosen family you don't live with anymore.

We're still here. We're both better and worse than you remember. We miss you. We curse you. The double waffle is still the best deal. Come have a cup of coffee with us at least. We'll listen to songs on the jukebox that we love and act like it's an ironic pasttime. Your ghosts, for good and ill, are still here. We're still Southeastern America, for all that that means.

I so need a Waffle House hit after reading this thread. Dammit. Where's my sponsor's number?
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:31 AM on November 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Waffle House is fascinating. If you're a regular there, note how they communicate orders to the cook through a special code of arrangements of objects on each plate ready for food. Here's a cheat sheet.
posted by odinsdream at 10:37 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think Akron has one of the furthest-north Waffle Houses

There's one on the northern edge of Medina, OH, at the intersection of Route 18 & I-71, which I've driven past like a million times late at night but almost never stopped in because I almost always had to get up in the morning for another gig.

WAFFLES HOUSE! Friend to touring musicians everywhere.

There's also one in Willoughby, OH, an eastern exurb of Cleveland, and geographically actually north of the city.

I spent a very pleasant Thanksgiving there once with someone kinda-sorta-in-certain-circles well-known at the end of a tour. Waffle House will always have a warm spot in my heart for being one of the only places open and able to feed and shelter two exhausted and very hungry musicians on that particular holiday.

Unfortunately, both of these locations are just two damn far to drive to from my place if I get a craving.


How does it compare to things like IHOP?

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth I remember IHOPs being a kind of similar chain of simple greasy-spoon diners, but about a decade ago (at least in my area) they all got revamped and rebuilt and now IHOP is the worst kind of premade/prepackaged Corporate FoodExtrusions, and their "pancakes" are mostly basically sundaes with a flat piece of pound cake lurking underneath. If you gotta eat that, I'd rather go to Bob Evans or Cracker Barrel.

At least at Waffle House you can see them crack an actual egg and put slabs of raw bacon on the grill and pour batter into a waffle maker.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:54 AM on November 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


IHOP is essentially another Sysco outlet
posted by destro at 11:07 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


soundguy99, that is one of the best explanations I have ever seen of the difference between WH and other chain diners.
Yeah, they use margarine and the syrup is a good bit not-maple, but they are a decent place with decent food and great atmosphere (if you are a kid from the South at least). The sticky floor/counter thing is something I have only seen at a few places and they are usually the ones outside the traditional range of WH. The one in Austin is pretty sticky.

Back when I was a younger man with a better metabolism and a job that consumed several tens of thousands of calories per day, the all-you-can-eat menu at the WH in ABQ was a treat to look forward to on days off.

Before that WH was where we went to hang and drink coffee at all hours in HS. It's where we would use the phone to call our girlfriends and dealers. It's where we would talk shit with other drama nerds, band geeks, and losers. So there is a nostalgia to the place, yes. But if I had to choose, now in my dotage, whether to eat at an IHOP, a Denny's or a Waffle House based solely on the quality of the food, WH would win out every time. I'll take margarine on my waffle any day over the sickening confections that pass for breakfast carbs at those other places. It's not great food, but it's consistent and it's decent and I can walk out of there feeling okay at the end of the experience.
posted by Seamus at 11:15 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think Akron has one of the furthest-north Waffle Houses

According to WH's store locator, it would appear that the one in Austinburg, OH, or one of the several over in and around Toledo would probably be the furthest north.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:41 AM on November 15, 2015


Mr. Freedom and I recently moved to Ohio, and we are baffled at the presence of Waffle Houses here. Are we secretly in the South?

Yes. (Especially if you're in Cincinnati. As if one little river could keep Kentucky out.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:48 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Honestly at this point serving margarine rather than butter is practically a point of Southern authenticity. Generations of only being able to afford margarine has made it the preferred option, in my family at least.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:58 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


> Back when I was a younger man with a better metabolism and a job that consumed several tens of thousands of calories per day, the all-you-can-eat menu at the WH in ABQ was a treat to look forward to on days off.

It's been like 20 years since Waffle House discontinued the all-you-can-eat deal, and I still miss it. I bet 50 of my excess pounds are remnants from being able to order sausage patties 6 at a time.
posted by davelog at 12:38 PM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your ghosts, for good and ill, are still here.

Except Janet's.
posted by drlith at 1:04 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


When my son was little, Waffle House was always his reward for getting shots. He loves sitting at the counter to watch the grill cook. The last time we visited my parents, we were driving home trying to outrun a hurricane. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was open. And yet, there was Waffle House, a golden light of respite, open and willing to fill us up with coffee and sugar. The line cook's brother ran the gas station next door, and he called and got that man out of bed to let us fill up our tank so we could continue the drive west. (All hotels were booked solid, we tried to stop and wait out the storm.).

Waffle House is the most southern thing I can imagine, and I pity the folks who've never fallen into their sticky embrace.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:49 PM on November 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


There are a few waffle houses in Pennsylvania too, which probably marks Pennsylvania as the northern-most southern state.
posted by Veritron at 1:50 PM on November 15, 2015


I work at a breakfast place. (It's not Waffle House.) Recently we had an opening for a cook. The guy we hired trained at Waffle House. Within two days of him being on the line, our ticket times dropped from around 18 minutes to less than ten. Watching this guy cook eggs to order is like watching ballet. Every action elegant and purposeful. No wasted energy, no standing still. Fluid, directed motion, both hands busy, often with different tasks.

I don't know what we're paying him. Whatever it is, it isn't enough.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:50 PM on November 15, 2015 [67 favorites]


I just Fargo season 2 last night. Was that a Waffle House?
posted by polymodus at 1:52 PM on November 15, 2015


When my son was little, Waffle House was always his reward for getting shots.

Waffle House does generally end evenings that start with shots, yes.
posted by Etrigan at 2:05 PM on November 15, 2015 [21 favorites]


Guys, the student journalists back at my old alma matter Indiana U Bloomington did a great write up about the local Waffle House that went national. Have a look see.

The End Of The Waffle House
posted by C.A.S. at 2:08 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I grew up on Waffle House. Like several others above, I am a big fan of the Cheese n Eggs with raisin toast, a meal which to me deserves grits, not hashbrowns. I also like the pecan waffle, because I am not a savage. And vats of sweet tea.

When people come to visit our current home, they are always excited to see that we live less than a mile from the original Waffle House, which is now the Waffle House Museum. Sadly, it is never open. Luckily, there is a functional Waffle House across the street.

When my mom first visited us here, she realized that when she was a kid out in Middle Georgia and her brother went to Emory, they would eat at the original Waffle House when they visited him. That would have been in the late 1950s. My mom is old school, yo.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:16 PM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


still bill: "he comes off as a general try-hard aging coolie to me"

That's probably not the word you want to use. Just letting you know.
posted by team lowkey at 2:27 PM on November 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


What was the white stuff they spread on their waffle before dousing it with syrup? The stuff out of the little plastic pots.
posted by biffa at 2:32 PM on November 15, 2015


Biffa, it was margarine.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 2:43 PM on November 15, 2015


Ta. Guessed either butter or some sort of cream. Is it common to butter waffles in this particular region?
posted by biffa at 2:52 PM on November 15, 2015


Is there somewhere it's not common to butter waffles?
posted by Etrigan at 3:02 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Is it common not to butter waffles elsewhere?
posted by mudpuppie at 3:03 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


In Spain, waffles are not a breakfast food. You eat them with ice cream.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:05 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Guys, the student journalists back at my old alma matter Indiana U Bloomington did a great write up about the local Waffle House that went national. Have a look see.

I was a regular there the last couple of years; I can picture some of the people mentioned quite vividly. That was really bittersweet, though I suppose most such endings are.

It's a different sort of Waffle House, though.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:19 PM on November 15, 2015


When we serve waffles with chile, we don't butter them.
When we serve waffles as breakfast, we do.

(No idea about the whole chicken and waffles thing. Never had it. Waffles, historically in the US could be either sweet or savory. Or so I have read. In recent times, they have become almost exclusively sweet.)
posted by Seamus at 3:30 PM on November 15, 2015


I had Waffle House one time in the 90s while traveling cross country. I was certain something so good would come to California eventually. I am suddenly so sad right now.
posted by RichAndCreamy at 3:51 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wish all you people with Waffle Houses would just shut up about them already. I still have to sit through Sonic (big cherry limeaid fan here) commercials on TV when the nearest one is well over half an hour from here. I finally get rid of the shakes from that and then you guys dangle the unobtainable in front of me again.

Soulless bastards you all are.


Hope you are happy.
posted by Samizdata at 4:27 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I love The Mind of a Chef series. How is this part of it?

I don't know about Mind of a Chef, but when they play Vivaldi here over shots of not-so-artfully prepared and plated griddle food they're obviously spoofing 'The Chef's Table', another pretty good Netflix cooking series (typical episode: chef goes Paris when young, blags way into job at top restaurant and learns from masters, returns to picturesque homeland to reinvent local vernacular cooking) that leans heavily on the Four Seasons.
posted by Flashman at 4:44 PM on November 15, 2015


I just treat waffles like pancakes. Put the same stuff on them. Butter and syrup, or peanut butter and jam.

I don't really get chicken and waffles. Putting ice cream on them seems strange to me also.

Now I'm very curious to know all the different ways people eat waffles!
posted by curious nu at 4:54 PM on November 15, 2015


Chef's Table is a pup compared to Mind of a Chef, which is now in its fourth season. Great, great show which bears multiple rewatchings (especially season one with David Chang). I never enjoyed Chef's Table. I was not aware that there was more stuff on the website, which might knock my productivity down a notch or several for a bit.
posted by nevercalm at 5:02 PM on November 15, 2015


Maybe it was just an off day for WH, but the one time I ordered them there what I got was mealy, dry, and tasted of not completely hydrated instant waffle mix. I like their hashbrowns, covered and smothered, and have no issues with their other options I've tried. Then again, my favorite waffle recipe calls for an absurd amount of melted butter in the batter to make a really crispy and fluffy waffle.

I remember the first time I went to a WH, I was driving from southern South Carolina to northern Virgina on Christmas, and literally nothing else was open for food. I ended up eating at two of them on that drive, lunch and dinner.

A new WH opened up last year nearby, making it the closest one to where I live. The first time I was in there, something struck me as off, then I realized it was the smell: real WHs smell of old grease, cooking waffles, fresh coffee, cleaning solution, and all the bodies that have moved in and out over the years.
posted by Blackanvil at 5:11 PM on November 15, 2015


As a working musician who at times would log a couple hundred gigs a year, I am no stranger to the pre-dawn WH. I do miss their $5.85 all-you-can-eat (a daytime only offer for safety and sanity, I'm sure) but it's at least 10 years gone.
posted by sourwookie at 5:12 PM on November 15, 2015


The Waffle House museum does open occasionally! Check their website! I may not like their food but I'm a big fan of kitsch!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 5:15 PM on November 15, 2015


so every now and then dogheart and I will play Homesickness Roulette, wherein we list all the things about our hometown we would kill to see/eat/drink right at that moment. Whichever one of us is feeling particularly vindictive or masochistic will end the contest by wailing "WAAAAAAAFFLE HOUUUUUUUSE." There is no coming back from that one.

oh my god I want hashbrowns. smothered covered chunked peppered and capped.
posted by floweringjudas at 5:15 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


> I wish all you people with Waffle Houses would just shut up about them already. I still have to sit through Sonic (big cherry limeaid fan here) commercials on TV when the nearest one is well over half an hour from here. I finally get rid of the shakes from that and then you guys dangle the unobtainable in front of me again.

Soulless bastards you all are.

Hope you are happy.


We have both in Phoenix and it's glorious. If it helps, our Dairy Queens are the lame Brazier ones.

/ducks
posted by davelog at 5:56 PM on November 15, 2015


I am forever forever sad that I no longer live a mile from a Waffle House.

I have a mug on my desk at work.

When baniak and I drove to Florida a few years ago, we ate at Waffle House EVERY DAY. It was worth it.
posted by bibliogrrl at 6:00 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know what we're paying him. Whatever it is, it isn't enough.

Bet he worked Third Shift, hell maybe it was First. But those Third shift cooks and servers, they have the best stories.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2015


I used to go to IHOP a lot, and one day on the way to an outlet mall in MD, my girlfriend at the time, whose family is from somewhere in the south, told me we had to stop at one of the Waffle Houses off of I-70 on the way back. So we did, and I don't remember what I got as my meal, but the hashbrown was covered and smothered. It was basically life changing, and I always question why we don't have one closer to MD's bigger cities and we have to put up with acceptable IHOP hashbrowns when we're drunk after clubbing.

I always get the same hashbrown now, but like others my meal vary depending on mood. And whenever my snowboarding buddies and I go up north I always convince them to go WH on the way back when we're exhausted and hungry. And like etrigan said, I usually get the same responses when I bring up Waffle House.
posted by numaner at 8:05 PM on November 15, 2015


davelog: "> I wish all you people with Waffle Houses would just shut up about them already. I still have to sit through Sonic (big cherry limeaid fan here) commercials on TV when the nearest one is well over half an hour from here. I finally get rid of the shakes from that and then you guys dangle the unobtainable in front of me again.

Soulless bastards you all are.

Hope you are happy.


We have both in Phoenix and it's glorious. If it helps, our Dairy Queens are the lame Brazier ones.

/ducks
"

It DOESN'T HELP!


Jerk...
posted by Samizdata at 8:19 PM on November 15, 2015


Shit, I was just in Phoenix and managed multiple Sonic and Whataburger runs (and brought some WaB back for my husband) but completely forgot about Waffle House.

Now I have to go back to Phoenix.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:33 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Those of you in the Northeast either missing or wanting to experience a Waffle House for the first time should know that there are about seven of them in Pennsylvania, including two just outside of Scranton (one of those claims to be in Scranton, but it is pretty much in Moosic; the other is in Clark's Summit, which is a bizarre spot for a Waffle House).
posted by old_growler at 9:33 PM on November 15, 2015


Guys, the student journalists back at my old alma matter Indiana U Bloomington did a great write up about the local Waffle House that went national. Have a look see.

After all the other ultra late nite or early AM places closed forever, that was the last joint. It's not possible to count my late nights and early mornings there between 1982 and 1990.
posted by mwhybark at 9:33 PM on November 15, 2015


I travel for work with a vegetarian, a very picky hippie, and a severe foodie. At 2am, Waffle House has something for EVERYBODY.
posted by TheCoug at 9:37 PM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I grew up not five minutes from a Waffle House. That thing was like a constant source of comfort to me in the strange and turbulent time of childhood. There's something about always being within walking distance of a Waffle House that creates a kind of stability: it doesn't matter if your car's broken, it's freezing out, and everyone in the house is scared of everyone else. You can always walk to the Waffle House.

I recently moved to Los Angeles to go to college. There are a lot of things to not miss about home, and a lot of things to miss in spite of the other stuff, and a few things to miss because of that other stuff. The number of things in that third category are few: the camaraderie between me and my sister, having grown up in the same toxic environment; the good friends I made by being out of the house as much as possible; the ability to feel free on the road, driving away from something instead of towards something else, not necessarily having a goal but just driving to drive and to be alone for a few more minutes; and, of course, hashbrowns, scattered and smothered.
posted by brecc at 11:25 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Waffle House's Diner Empire is Based on Right-Wing Politics and Ripping Off Workers

As one testimony on Glassdoor, the employee review website, states, “they...get away with not having dishwashers and cleaning staff by calling their servers salespersons instead, so on top of traditional sidework they are responsible for cleaning all dishes, cleaning windows inside and out, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning the ceiling tiles, floors, etc.”

What this results in is that the same people doing tipped work – the servers – are often spending more than a fifth of their time on a shift doing non-tipped work, such as cleaning, and not getting compensated up to the full minimum wage for it. “I've talked to several Waffle House employees. I can tell you that with regard to at least two employees, that they have at least informed me that in fact was happening, that they're spending far more than 20 percent of their time on cleaning,” says Kistler.


see also: Woman Alleges Waffle House Manager Asked, ‘You’re Pregnant Again?’ Then Fired Her For Pregnancy
posted by runt at 11:44 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


WH ought to patent the magical chemicals they use which neutralize all the hangover-inducing chems in all the booze I drink.

If I hit WH before I crash after a night of drinking, I am reasonably functional the next day. The key, I think, is their philly cheesesteak omelette which is far, far better than it has any right to be.

I do not presently live near a WH. Ugh.
posted by Thistledown at 3:59 AM on November 16, 2015


I've heard about the salesperson thing. And yet walking into any waffle house and you are guaranteed to find some employees who've been there for 29 years. And some who are daughters and sons of previous generation employees. And I'd guess that the average turnaround time is like 5-6 years compared to any other restaurant chain at 4-5 months. Why is that?
posted by chasles at 4:26 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Within the last 3 months they've put a Waffle House about a mile from my house.
If I haven't gained 50lbs by next Christmas, I'm counting it as a win.

So many memories and formative experiences in my life have included a Waffle House meal at the beginning or the end of the chapter.
posted by DigDoug at 6:00 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bourdain has been fellating the down home sensibilities of all cultural comfort food eaters since his Food network show back on an indistinguishable Food network. Dude is the Herzog of delicious cheap food.
posted by aydeejones at 7:35 AM on November 16, 2015


I used to think it was hokey until I got through a lot of rough Mondays with No Reservations and could see Anthony Zimmern's far hokier show after
posted by aydeejones at 7:37 AM on November 16, 2015


If you are in Charleston be sure to visit Sean Brock's restaurant. Southern food at its finest. And as for the comment above regarding grits, someone hasn't had them in Charleston yet!
posted by nofundy at 4:15 PM on November 16, 2015


I'm going to be in Maryland all next week, and I think I may have to visit the Waffle House. Why there isn't one in the middle of DC is a tragedy.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:49 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love The Mind of a Chef series. How is this part of it?

Me too! And it's not!

This clip is actually from Bourdain's Charleston episode of Parts Unknown, which aired on CNN last night (and which I am currently streaming through not entirely legal methods). It ended up on the Mind of a Chef web page apparently because Mind of a Chef is a enough of a Bourdain venture to make the Parts Unknown Waffle House clip appropriate content for MindOfAChef.com.

Make of that what you will.

He's also opening a huge hawker-style food court in NYC and he's had his own publishing imprint for a few years now.

I like his show, because I like food shows almost indiscriminately. But, part of Bourdain's schtick is making fun of celebrity chefs -- although many celebrity chefs now aren't chefs so much as they're food-related personalities. He famously skewered Emeril early in his career, and if you read the recent article posted on the blue about Guy Fieri, you'll hear that even in the his speaking engagements this last year, he regularly rags on Fieri. He makes fun of the ones he deems worthy of ridicule, basically, and lets others (like Sean Brock, David Chang, etc.) get a pass.

But Bourdain is now as much of a media-created character as Emeril and Fieri. He just thinks that he's done the creating, whereas he criticizes the other two as creations of the Food Network. A touch hypocritical, if you ask me, in a "who's watching the watchers?" kind of way.

But he still has one of the only shows on TV that claims to be about food and then actually talks about food, so I still watch him. And the clip posted here, plus the resulting discussion, has me jonesing for Waffle House cuisine like you wouldn't believe. It also has me feeling a completely sympathetic, placebo-effect hangover, because yeesh.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:36 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


He makes fun of the ones he deems worthy of ridicule, basically, and lets others (like Sean Brock, David Chang, etc.) get a pass.

And, most obviously, his French soulmate Eric Ripert. How could I forget the French soulmate?

posted by mudpuppie at 9:43 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


mrzarquon: “I'm going to be in Maryland all next week, and I think I may have to visit the Waffle House. Why there isn't one in the middle of DC is a tragedy.”
Tell me about it. I had to suffer with Denny's because driving down to Quantico just wasn't on the agenda after a 16 hour day. You'd think there'd be one in Crystal City for Pentagon people to eat at, but nooooo.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:53 PM on November 16, 2015


Is there somewhere it's not common to butter waffles?

Like chainsoffreedom I have mostly seen waffles treated more as a dessert. We had some waffles in Norway this summer that were almost a waffle/pancake cross, served with a cream and berry jam mix. In Belgium I would likely for got ice cream and sauce. I guess its all carb loading, either for after drinking or before walking.
posted by biffa at 9:30 AM on November 17, 2015


From Wikipedia:
American waffles[72] vary significantly. Generally denser and thinner than the Belgian waffle, they are often made from a batter leavened with baking powder.... Like American pancakes they are usually served as a sweet breakfast food.... They are also found in many different savory dishes, such as fried chicken and waffles or topped with kidney stew.[73]

73. Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University press. pp. xx + 892. ISBN 978-0192806819.


WHAT!!!
Where can I go to eat waffles with kidney stew?!?!?!?!
posted by Seamus at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2015


I'm amazed nobody mentioned the WH iced tea. It's one of the few restaurants that has any kind of quality control on their sugar content.

So many other places over sweeten the tea (I assume to cover up when it starts to go sour)

WH makes a new carafe of tea every shift and uses a specific amount of sugar set by corporate.
posted by Megafly at 3:47 PM on November 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's so canned and predictable that I can actually imitate it pretty accurately talking about whatever.

His voice does have a cadence which lends itself to parody. But I still like Bourdain, as much as anyone can try not to be envious of someone traveling across the planet and merrily indulging in it's various offerings. 'Parts Unknown' is a really good television show, and often the only thing worth watching on broadcast late at night. What makes it interesting is what looks like a fairly sincere attempt to address cultural context and history in his travels. His New England show took a swerve to go into a serious little mini-documentary about addiction at the end.
posted by ovvl at 5:15 PM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I may be the only one with the slightest interest, but kidney stew and waffles is, apparently, a Baltimore, Maryland thing. From what I have read, it seems more like cream gravy with sauteed kidney chunks in it. This was sometimes served on toast. That makes it sound a lot like Kidney SOS.
Many people mentioning the dish also said that it was a common breakfast dish on Christmas morning. Some people put syrup over the stew on the waffles.
This intrigues me so, so much.
My wife and son are going to hate me this weekend.
posted by Seamus at 7:28 AM on November 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


In Spain, waffles are not a breakfast food. You eat them with ice cream.

In the US, waffles ARE a breakfast food. You eat them with ice cream.
posted by the_blizz at 11:26 AM on November 18, 2015 [6 favorites]




I know that the headline wouldn't be as relevant to the masses, but it's closer to being the Waffle House-Huddle House line.
posted by Seamus at 7:05 AM on November 19, 2015


Isn't Huddle House mostly in the South too?

I appreciate the Onion's joke, but there isn't an IHOP-anywhere line. They're everywhere.
posted by Etrigan at 7:13 AM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but it's more like the North South and the South South, whereas IHOPs are like a stain upon the land, and the land has been dunked in a bucket of Rit.
posted by Seamus at 7:54 AM on November 19, 2015


I appreciate the Onion's joke, but there isn't an IHOP-anywhere line. They're everywhere.

Well, not everywhere. Despite the name, IHOP is pretty much just an American thing.

To wit, IHOP distribution in Canada is hilarious:

- Five locations spread reasonably around Alberta.
- Twelve in BC, with all but one clustered tightly around Vancouver.
- Five in Niagara Falls. Five in Niagara Falls.

And that's it. Places Americans go, and Alberta.

Where else do you find IHOP? Sprinkled across the Middle East and the Philippines, probably because of the US military presence. Or possibly the former because oil barons like IHOP? That would explain Alberta.

Other than that, there's just Mexico (twenty-eight locations) and Guatemala (three). So I guess IHOP's world domination is mostly working its way south - - - but where will the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity strike next? El Salvador? Honduras? Will Belize get left out? People always forget about Belize. They should build a Waffle House in Belize, just to fuck with IHOP.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:02 PM on November 19, 2015


There used to be an IHOP in Winnipeg until the 80s, I think.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:04 PM on November 19, 2015


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