No 24-hour diner chain inspires quite exactly the same cult following as Waffle menu. Since its founding in Atlanta some 60 years ago, the restaurant has been elevated to cultural touchstone, now expansive across 25 U.S. states with over 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 – call it the Waffle House je ne sais quoi.
The chain has inspired numerous books, including a first-person narrative from a former line cook titled As the Waffle Burns along with one with a pastor called – naturally – The Gospel Based on Waffle House. The chain, which claims to have sold its billionth waffle sometime in 2015, recently saw each of its founders, Tom Forkner and Joe Rogers Sr., die within just sixty days of a single another. Here now, a glance back in the legend, as well as for fans near and far, everything you need to know about Waffle House.
The Beginning – The initial Waffle House made its debut in 1955 within the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates. The vision: combine fast food, available 24 hours a day, with table service. Co-founder Forkner once explained how he and Rogers, who have been neighbors, started the chain: “He said, ‘You develop a restaurant and I’ll show you how to run it.’” They named it Waffle House because waffles were the most profitable menu item (and for that reason, the things they most wanted customers to order).
The initial Waffle Property is now a museum. The company began franchising in 1960 and initially grew slowly, but expansion found within the ’70s and ’80s. Its empire now spans across a complete 50 % of the 50 continental states, even though it’s concentrated within the South, Waffle Houses are available 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 which it uses two percent of all eggs manufactured in the U.S.
The Trick Waffle House Language. Eating at Waffle House the very 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, however for everybody else, the menu translates each esoteric term: “Scattered” identifies spreading the hash browns out across the grill so they get crispy throughout – otherwise, they’re cooked within a steel ring – and is probably the mostly commonly heard terms thrown around at WH; many also order them “well-done.” The other topping options 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 along with it and order them “all the way.”
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 your various egg preparations (over easy, scrambled, et al) to people signature hash browns. To make certain order accuracy and kitchen efficiency, Waffle House staff have their own own highly esoteric visual coding system. By marking plates with butter pats, mini tubs of grape jelly, as well as other condiments including mayo packets and pickles in a variety of, highly specific arrangements, servers can communicate to cooks what food should be ready for each plate. For example, to indicate a purchase of scrambled eggs with wheat toast, a tub of jelly is put on the larger oval plate upside-down in the six o’clock position. (Best of luck memorizing this system until you actually work there; everyone else will surely need to look up with awe.)
Famous People Like Waffle House. Though Waffle Home is prized as a refuge for your common people, a lot of celebrities have likewise pledged their allegiance. Prominently located just off busy interstates, Waffle House has played host to numerous traveling musicians and earned itself lots of references: Inside the track “Welcome to Atlanta,” Jermaine Dupri raps, “After jpgpiy party it’s the Waffle House/Should you ever been here do you know what I’m talkin’ about.” A minumum of one rap music video has become filmed in a Waffle House parking area, and nineties sensation/current butt of endless jokes Hootie as well as the Blowfish possess a cover album titled “Scattered, Smothered, and Covered.” Oddly enough, WH also possesses its own record label, breakfast-themed cuts (think “Make Mine With Cheese” and “There’s Raisins inside my Toast”) from which may be heard playing on the jukeboxes that occupy each location.