No 24-hour diner chain inspires quite exactly the same popularity as Waffle House near me. Since its founding in Atlanta some 60 years ago, the restaurant has been elevated to cultural touchstone, now expansive across 25 U.S. states using more than 2,000 locations. Slinging humble breakfast fare 24 hours a day, Waffle House inspires deep and unyielding loyalty in diners like few restaurant chains (except maybe Whataburger) can. Is it the cheap prices? The no-frills atmosphere? Those illustrious hash browns that somehow taste better when you’re intoxicated? The waitresses that undoubtedly call you “honey”? Likely some combination of all of the above, plus a little bit of that inexplicable Southern diner magic – refer to it as the Waffle House je ne sais quoi.
The chain has inspired numerous books, such as a first-person narrative from a former line cook titled As the Waffle Burns in addition to one by a pastor called – naturally – The Gospel In accordance with Waffle House. The chain, which claims to have sold its billionth waffle sometime in 2015, recently saw both its founders, Tom Forkner and Joe Rogers Sr., die in just 2 months of a single another. Here now, a peek back at the legend, and for fans near and far, all that you should know about Waffle House.
The Start – The very first Waffle House made its debut in 1955 within the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates. The vision: combine fast food, available round the clock, with table service. Co-founder Forkner once explained how he and Rogers, who have been neighbors, started the chain: “He said, ‘You build a restaurant and I’ll explain to you how you can run it.’” They named it Waffle House because waffles were by far the most profitable menu item (and for that reason, the things they most wanted customers to buy).
The initial Waffle Property is now a museum. The company began franchising in 1960 and initially grew slowly, but expansion picked up within the ’70s and ’80s. Its empire now spans across an entire 50 % of the 50 continental states, despite the fact that it’s concentrated in the South, Waffle Houses can be obtained as far north as Ohio and as far west as Arizona. Waffle House remains a privately owned company today – Rogers’s son, Joe Rogers Jr., is now the chairman – and does not disclose annual sales figures, nevertheless in 2005 the business claimed which it uses two percent of all eggs created in the U.S.
The Key Waffle House Language. Eating at Waffle House the very first time requires becoming versed in a new vernacular – just what the hell does “scattered, smothered, and covered” mean? True Waffle House devotees have their own hash brown orders dedicated to memory, however for all others, the menu translates each esoteric term: “Scattered” describes spreading the hash browns out over the grill so that they get crispy throughout – otherwise, they’re cooked inside a steel ring – and is one of the mostly commonly heard terms thrown around at WH; many also order them “well-done.” The other topping choices are smothered (sautéed onions), covered (melted American cheese), chunked (bits of ham), diced (tomatoes), peppered (jalapeños), capped (grilled mushrooms), topped (chili), or country (smothered in sausage gravy). Diners could also just say to hell by using it and order them “all the way in which.”
Hash browns scattered, smothered, and covered. Like most every other diner, orders at Waffle House are susceptible to plenty of customization, from the various egg preparations (over easy, scrambled, et al) to people signature hash browns. To make sure order accuracy and kitchen efficiency, Waffle House staff have their own highly esoteric visual coding system. By marking plates with butter pats, mini tubs of grape jelly, and other condiments like mayo packets and pickles in a variety of, highly specific arrangements, servers can communicate to cooks what food should be equipped for each plate. For example, to indicate a purchase of scrambled eggs with wheat toast, a tub of jelly is positioned over a larger oval plate upside down in the six o’clock position. (Good luck memorizing this method except if you actually work there; average folks will simply must look on with awe.)
Famous People Like Waffle House. Though Waffle House is prized as being a refuge for the common people, a lot of celebrities have likewise pledged their allegiance. Prominently located just off busy interstates, Waffle House near me has played host to numerous traveling musicians and earned itself plenty of references: In the track “Welcome to Atlanta,” Jermaine Dupri raps, “After jpgpiy party it’s the Waffle House/If you ever been here do you know what I’m talkin’ about.” One or more rap music video continues to be filmed in a Waffle House car park, and nineties sensation/current butt of endless jokes Hootie and the Blowfish have a cover album titled “Scattered, Smothered, and Covered.” Oddly enough, WH also features its own record label, breakfast-themed cuts (think “Make Mine With Cheese” and “There’s Raisins in My Toast”) from which can be heard playing on the jukeboxes that occupy each location.