“Welcome to Waffle House!” yells the visor donned grill cook. Ahh the old familiar noise I know all too well. The sizzle of the bacon, clanging of the pans and the smell of old coffee will always resonate with me in form of my time in the South. It all started two years ago when I made a quick jump down to Panama City for a month or two to enjoy the sun and better yet, great company. I was shacking up with my Aunt Wendy and Uncle Jean at the time thinking, as most would, that the beach would be the paradise I would come to love. Little did I know, just a hop, skip and a jump away from the house was a paradise one could not even begin imagine known to all as the infamous Waffle House. One night, after a swim in the crisp gulf water, my cousins and I decided to go grab some chow. Violet and Zak decided that it was high time I had myself some breakfast. Oh man, they could not have been more right. Walking past the Winn Dixie, we came around the corner and there it was…those big, bright yellow blocks with bold black font, almost iconic of a southern road trip. We sat at the counter, right in front of the grill, and dined on what some would say was way too much food. Since that glorious day, I feel as if I have been on a mission to make up for lost waffle time. Through this breakfast food marathon of sorts, I have successfully honed down my order to almost a rehearsed script and know exactly how much money, down to the cent, I am going to need.
Here’s the thing about Waffle House food; you can’t think about it. Calorie counters and food snobs should steer clear if only to avoid an experience that will haunt them for lives to come. It’s deliciously greasy, salty and if you add syrup, which you should, sweet in all the right ways. Today as I chow down on some smothered hash browns (covered in day old chili, for the curious), perfect over-easy eggs, and butter soaked wheat toast (gotta stay healthy), I can’t help but think about all the times when my awesome cousin, Violet, and I would stop there late night just because we were driving by. We could be on our way to dinner and still make a twenty-minute pit stop to sit at the counter and eat our way through an Allstar breakfast, laughing the whole way through. Being from the North, the waffle house isn’t all about the southern breakfast but more of the unique experience you cannot get in any other restaurant. So, my friends, I invite you to take that simple right turn of f highway 98 and get yourself not only some good grub but an experience with a friend that will last forever.
I would just like to dedicate this to my cousin and great friend Violeta aka V. She will forever be my Waffle House buddy and I wouldn’t imagine going there without her.
-Frank “Cheech” Cavanagh