Elvis lookalikes and hitch hikers aren’t the only regulars at your neighborhood Waffle House. Next time you jump on the interstate highway in the South, head to the yellow rooftop and order like a true southerner:
While Denny’s and Perkins serve up the standard American breakfast, the Southerner’s secret to a hearty breakfast is found in another neighborhood diner. Waffle House is an American legend, but unknown to most in areas north of Georgia and Alabama. Elvis lookalikes and hitch hikers aren’t the only regulars; the chain attracts thousands of patrons each week who have their own standing order. You’ll recognize them when they order with ‘just the usual.’
Ron Shelton once quoted the venue as the ‘low-rent roadside café featuring waffles’, and Waffle House has become a Southern icon, a chain that boasts over 1500 locations. The chain can be found in twenty-five states in the U.S; this is the place to get your entrée with packets of condiments neatly tucked on the plate!
Almost every southerner is familiar with the never-changing menu. Stacks of waffles are served fresh daily, along with omelets, hamburgers, country ham, pork chops, grits, and T-bone steaks. For those with a sweet tooth at breakfast, heaping servings of apple butter on raisin toast are readily available–and don’t forget that $1.15 cup of bottomless coffee.
The diner has become evolved enough to create it’s own ‘Waffle House Language’, the way for the waitresses to send the orders to the kitchens without written notes. They also follow a condiment code; each condiment is placed in a specific position on a plate to tell the short-order cook what to whip up. Jelly at the 12’o’clock position on the grill platter means a ham omelet has just been ordered. It’s a grill cook’s cheat sheet for whipping out the menu in record time. Still, when you’re placing your order at this cozy neighborhood diner, here’s how to order like a true Southerner and customize your experience:
Omelets and Hashbrowns
Covered: with cheese
Smothered: with onions
Chunked: with ham
Topped: with chili
Diced: with tomatoes
Peppered: with hot peppers
Scattered: spread on the grill
In a ring: crispy (hashbrowns)
Capped: with mushrooms
All the way: everything plus chili
Double covered: double cheese
Fiesta: an omelet with tomatoes, peppers, cheese, and onions
All-Star special: two eggs, grits, toast, jelly, a waffle, sausage, and bacon
Waffle House is a popular spot for breakfast on any morning, day, or night; open 24 hours, the restaurant also serves up hearty chili, sandwiches, and dinner platters-you know, for those special occasions when Elvis is in the house.