No 24-hour diner chain inspires quite exactly the same popularity as Waffle House menu. Since its founding in Atlanta some 60 years back, the restaurant has been elevated to cultural touchstone, now expansive across 25 U.S. states with more than 2,000 locations. Slinging humble breakfast fare night and 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 inevitably call you “honey”? Likely some combination of all of the above, plus a little bit of that inexplicable Southern diner magic – call it the Waffle House je ne sais quoi.
The chain has inspired numerous books, together with a first-person narrative coming from a former line cook titled Since the Waffle Burns in addition to one by a pastor called – naturally – The Gospel In accordance with Waffle House. The chain, which states to have sold its billionth waffle sometime in 2015, recently saw both of its founders, Tom Forkner and Joe Rogers Sr., die in just 2 months of merely one another. Here now, a glance back in the legend, as well as for fans near and far, all you need to know about Waffle House.
The Start – The initial 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 had been neighbors, started the chain: “He said, ‘You build a restaurant and I’ll explain to you the best way to run it.’” They named it Waffle House because waffles were probably the most profitable menu item (and therefore, what they most wanted customers to order).
The initial Waffle House is now a museum. The organization began franchising in 1960 and at first grew slowly, but expansion found within the ’70s and ’80s. Its empire now spans across a complete half of the 50 continental states, despite the fact that it’s concentrated inside the South, Waffle Houses can be found as far north as Ohio and as far west as Arizona. Waffle House remains a privately held company today – Rogers’s son, Joe Rogers Jr., has become the chairman – and fails to disclose annual sales figures, nevertheless in 2005 the company claimed that it uses two percent of all the eggs created in the U.S.
The Trick Waffle House Language. Eating at Waffle House for the first time requires becoming versed in a new vernacular – exactly what the hell does “scattered, smothered, and covered” mean? True Waffle House devotees have their own hash brown orders focused on memory, but for everyone else, the menu translates each esoteric term: “Scattered” refers to spreading the hash browns out throughout the grill so that they get crispy all-around – otherwise, they’re cooked in a steel ring – and is probably the mostly commonly heard terms thrown around at WH; many also order them “well-done.” The other topping alternatives are smothered (sautéed onions), covered (melted American cheese), chunked (pieces of ham), diced (tomatoes), peppered (jalapeños), capped (grilled mushrooms), topped (chili), or country (smothered in sausage gravy). Diners could also just say to hell with it and order them “all just how.”
Hash browns scattered, smothered, and covered. Like the majority of any other diner, orders at Waffle House are subjected to a lot of customization, from the various egg preparations (over easy, scrambled, et al) to the people signature hash browns. To make sure order accuracy and kitchen efficiency, Waffle House staff get 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 different, highly specific arrangements, servers can communicate to cooks what food should be ready for each plate. For example, to indicate an order of scrambled eggs with wheat toast, a tub of jelly is put on the larger oval plate upside-down at the six o’clock position. (All the best memorizing this system except if you actually work there; everyone else will just need to look up with awe.)
Famous People Like Waffle House. Though Waffle House is prized as being a refuge for that common people, a lot of celebrities have also pledged their allegiance. Prominently located just off busy interstates, waffle house breakfast menu has played host to many traveling musicians and earned itself a lot of references: Inside 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.” A minumum of one rap music video has been filmed in a Waffle House car park, and nineties sensation/current butt of endless jokes Hootie and also the Blowfish use 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 within my Toast”) from which is often heard playing on the jukeboxes that occupy each location.