I just got back from breakfast with my sister and her husband, and it occurred to me that as much as I talk about food here, I haven’t talked about what is one of my favorite places ever, i.e. Waffle House.
It’s not just that the waffle house is one of the last places you can get an unpretentious waffle, tiny squared and ready for syrup. It’s not just that their hash brown portions are unabashedly huge and designed for sharing in a communal bout of fried potato fabulousness, and it’s not just that their breakfast meats aren’t limited to the standards of bacon and sausage links/patties. Waffle House transcends even these elements of dive-perfect gastronomy.
When you’re in the Waffle House, you know what you’re there for. Your menu is a laminated placemat, the booths surround the galley kitchen, and your waitress has a serious smoking habit. Waffle House embodies the no-nonsense 24/7 breakfast aesthetic, packages it into a replicable chain like only American restaurant franchises can, and does it without being kitsch. They don’t sell Waffle House T-shirts. Or knick-knacks. You’re there for the aesthetic, but not as a tourist. Waffle House isn’t performing for you, it just is.
And it’s tasty.
Next time you’re far enough South to check it out, do.