No 24-hour diner chain inspires quite the same cult following as Wafflehouse 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 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 undoubtedly call you “honey”? Likely some combination of all 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 from the former line cook titled Because the Waffle Burns in addition to one by way of a pastor called – naturally – The Gospel Based on 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 within just 2 months of one another. Here now, a peek back in the legend, as well as for fans near and far, everything you need to know about Waffle House.
The Start – The very first Waffle House made its debut in 1955 inside the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates. The vision: combine fast food, available twenty-four 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 build a restaurant and I’ll demonstrate 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 acquire).
The original Waffle House is now a museum. The organization began franchising in 1960 and at first grew slowly, but expansion acquired within the ’70s and ’80s. Its empire now spans across a full 50 % of the 50 continental states, even though it’s concentrated within the South, Waffle Houses can be obtained as far north as Ohio so when 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, however in 2005 the company claimed that it uses two percent of all the 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 – exactly what the hell does “scattered, smothered, and covered” mean? True Waffle House devotees have their own hash brown orders focused on memory, but also for everybody else, the menu translates each esoteric term: “Scattered” identifies spreading the hash browns out throughout the grill therefore they get crispy all-around – otherwise, they’re cooked in a steel ring – and is one of the mostly commonly heard terms thrown around at WH; many also order them “well-done.” Another topping choices 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 by using it and order them “all the way.”
Hash browns scattered, smothered, and covered. Similar to most 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 including mayo packets and pickles in a variety of, highly specific arrangements, servers can communicate to cooks what food should be prepared for each plate. As an example, to indicate an order 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 technique unless you actually work there; the rest of us will surely need to look up with awe.)
Famous People Like Waffle House. Though Waffle House is prized being a refuge for the common people, plenty of celebrities also have pledged their allegiance. Prominently located just off busy interstates, waffle house breakfast menu has played host to a lot of 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 happen to been here do you know what I’m talkin’ about.” One or more rap music video continues to be filmed in a Waffle House parking lot, and nineties sensation/current butt of endless jokes Hootie as well as 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 inside my Toast”) from which is often heard playing on the jukeboxes that occupy each location.