There’s nothing like the Waffle House. You want a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast at anytime of day or night? This is the place. Anyone who lives in the South can easily take ‘em for granted. Perhaps it’s not too dissimilar from other parts of the country where Denny’s or Starbucks rule highway exits and small and large cities. But in the South, Waffle House is where it’s going on.Truck drivers, business people conducting meetings, families, retirees, travelers or locals called by first name. Waffle House is where they go seeking familiarity, quick service and hot food.
Waitresses are what’s happening at Waffle House. They’re quick-witted, know every angle and mostly call everyone “sugar” or “darlin’.”
I know a reporter for a cycling magazine who has stolen a coffee mug from every Waffle House he’s visited. He could likely serve an NFL team coffee with Waffle House mugs to spare. But Waffle House is still a new phenomenon for me.
I first visited Waffle House last year at the Tour de Georgia. The waitress at the counter who served me was the manager. At one point during my meal she left the restaurant and helped a customer who had locked his keys in his car. The manager just happened to carry a “slim jim” on her key ring.
I couldn’t wait to get to a Waffle House at this year’s Tour de Georgia. After flying overnight from San Jose, Ca., I stopped at this Waffle House location just outside of Atlanta. It was packed at 7 a.m.
An African-American guy and his friend told me I looked like retired Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Roger Staubach. I told one of the African-American guys he looked like rapper/actor LL Cool J. We all laughed. One of those guys took the top picture of the waitress and me.
Oh, more importantly, the cheese eggs, grits, raisin toast and full-strength coffee got me down the road for another three hours en route to Savannah on a sunny gloriously warm morning.
Article Last Updated: April 30, 2008.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.