First Take: Waffle House for Heart-Warming Southern Eats
I’ll confess that given I grew up outside of the North Carolina area, so I had NO clue about Waffle House. I was always more of a Denny’s or IHOP sort of guy when it came to greasy breakfasts but it would be a mistake not to put Waffle House on the list of great casual breakfast and lunch joints. Around for over 60 years, the Waffle House has been an iconic diner for the Southeast with that famous yellow and black lettered sign. They specialize in down-home breakfast and lunch eats, perfect for fueling up for a long day of activities if you’re on the road. And given they’re open 24 hours a day, it’s hard to find an excuse NOT to eat here every once in a while when the mood hits you. Well as a newbie, I’m still learning about this Southern diner classic and so far, so good! Especially those hash browns….
Having stepped into several Waffle Houses (GA, SC, NC) at this point in my life, the experience is usually pretty consistent. Inside Waffle House and you’ll usually find a lot of noise and activity given their popularity with the locals. Open kitchen with counter seating to watch all the action. Rows of booths with vinyl benches and formica tables lined up against plate glass windows, Waffle House is the quintessential Southern diner experience. You’ll be handed over a laminated, plastic menu by a very seasoned waitress who affectionately calls you honey or sweetheart and gets you started with a coffee or soft drink.
The menu is pretty basic, listing the usual breakfast favorites ranging from eggs, bacon and sausage to their always-famous, hash browns!! Why the hash browns? The Waffle House does a hash brown with shredded potatoes and then you customize the sh** out of it! You can add cheese, gravy, onions, ham, tomatoes, mushrooms and more using the Waffle House hash brown code (scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, etc…) And yes, there’s American cheese on a lot of the food here so you won’t go home hungry! And pretty much everything is under $10 outside of the steak options.
I’ve had the chance to sample several items off the Waffle House menu, from breakfast to lunch and it’s all pretty solid! For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with their All-Star Special: Two eggs, breakfast meat, grits, and toast along with one of their famous waffles ($7+). I’d recommend upgrading to hash browns and trying the fluffy and crunchy pecan waffles to get the full experience. My sunny-side up eggs were cooked perfectly and loved the hash browns topped and covered (chili and American cheese). There’s a LOT of food here so take your time!
For lunch I’ve tried their Texas bacon cheesesteak melt which takes two thick pieces of toast and stuffs it with thinly sliced beef, grilled onions and some bacon. A bit heavy on the salt but definitely a satisfying sammich. Paired with some hash browns melted with American cheese and onion and you’ve got yourself a meal! Just don’t plan any after lunch meetings after this onion-filled lunch.
So what can I say but Waffle House, you really hit the spot. While the menu is a bit small compared to other diner options, what Waffle House serves up is really good. And the service is usually super-friendly and personable. It’s a depending dining option that’s open 24 hours a day, which is pretty impressive. There’s even a Waffle House Disaster Index which rates the severity of a disaster by the local Waffle House status. If Waffle House is closed, you know it’s REALLY bad out there. Rock on Waffle House, I’m not sure when I’ll be back but you can be sure that I’ll be getting those hash browns again…
2,500 various locations in the Southeast
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