Famed Was This Waffle House, Far Flew the Boast of Them
Do you know where to find America? Can you think of a singular place that embodies that which us Americans hold dear? You cannot reach America on a 1-800 number. America is not found in New York City, or Hollywood, or at the Super Bowl. If you want to find America, you will have to go to a grimy Waffle House at 12:45 in the morning and order the covered hash browns.
If you have never eaten at a Waffle House before, I am truly sorry. Is the food good? Kinda. Is it healthy? Definitely not. Will you witness several crimes being committed in the parking lot as you enter? Maybe! But despite its many perceived flaws, Waffle House excellently maintains their founding standard: to provide a cheap, tasty meal to everyone, regardless of race, gender, creed, or level of intoxication.
Waffle House is open 24/7, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you arrive any earlier than 11:00 in the evening. There is something transcendental about it at this hour. Literally – it transcends being a restaurant. It is a isolated hamlet adrift in an uncaring world, a sanctuary from the perils that beset you in your job, your school, and your relationships. The laws of man will not aid you here, nor will they find you.
You may also be tempted to visit an IHOP at such an hour (they are also open 24/7). Never succumb to this urge. IHOP is a perversion. It was designed to appeal to people who think Chili’s is an acceptable place to propose to their girlfriends. It is safer, trendier, and soulless. You will find no salvation there.
Also, the food. There is not an atom of class in diner fare. IHOP, Denny’s and the like disguise their greasy scraps as confectionery art. On the other hand, Waffle House serves their grease with pride. They are free from the pretentiousness that scuttles so many of their peers. Their colors are yellow and brown.
The atmosphere is without peer. Your server may take a smoke break while you are waiting for your check. This is normal, and encouraged. Allow them a moment of respite in their graveyard shift. Why are you so impatient? You don’t have anywhere to be.
If you’re really lucky, you might see a fight. This too is good. Stop complaining! You’ve been given free entertainment. Better yet, you may have a story.
Shuffle on down one night and soak it all in. Sit in your sticky seat. Eat some delicious slop. Listen to the drunken booth next to you sing Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” for 10 minutes at a time. Savor your time with the Waffle House. If nothing else, it is real.