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Waffle House! Are they any good?

We don't have em' out on the West Coast. They sound good. I love waffles. Are they?

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  1. Some are great, some are awful. I don't care for the waffles, but we always enjoy ourselves at one near our house.

    1. I love WH. Steak n Eggs w/ a side of grits is usualy what I eat. The only problem w/ WH is there are always packed (at least around here).

      1. Better than they have any right to be. It's the quintessential American greasy spoon. The open kitchen lets you watch them make the food, there's good music on the jukebox, and nothing soaks up a night's drinking better than a double order of hash browns all the way... cheese, onion, ham, chili, tomatoes, mushrooms, jalapeƱos, and at a couple around here green chiles too.

        1. They're especially good at 2 in the morning after a long night out with friends. :-)

          I agree with jimmy, though - some are great, and then you're taking your life into your hands when you walk into others. If you find a good one, though, their hamburgers are the peak of greasy diner-type burger perfection.

          1. I personally like the pecan waffles and the grits, the lunch foods not so much. The surroundings help--the use of space is ingenious. Another presentation plus--big, thick coffee mugs that actually keep the coffee hot, especially since the dishes turn over so frequently that the mug was probably already hot when the coffee was poured in. An Indiana offshoot: Waffle & Steak.

            1. I have been to some that are KILLER, and some that suck (along with the general consensus) and I know many people that say the same. If you go to one that sucks, waffles, eggs, and hashbrowns are good items to stick with. I can eat like three of those pecan waffles. YUM!

              Next time you are outta town, check to see if they have one. It's an experience. Don't be expecting white cloths or anything, they are mostly greasy spoon dives with a waitress, and a short order cook. That being said, I don't have one close to me, or I'd be as big as a house. Fresh waffles with syrup and butter are a godsend to me. Add a little protein via some pecans, and it's basically my perfect food.

              3 Replies
              1. re: gordeaux

                To tell you the truth, most of the descriptions of the food here are what I was actually hoping to hear. Wouldn't want a Vegan Foo Foo joint. Greasy diner type fare! With that great coffee. Sounds good to me. Now, if we can just get them further west I would have it made.
                Thanks all!
                -BnF

                1. re: gordeaux

                  I'm Canadian, so have only enjoyed WH on my infrequent visits to the South. But, I agree - some are well maintained (i.e. clean) and offer really tasty, inexpensive food, and others are just ugly looking - dirty, run-down places where I'd be afraid to drink the water. My advice - take a tour of the place first, including washrooms, and then decide if that's where you want to eat. If it is clean and well maintained, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

                  1. re: gordeaux

                    I do not think that real butter has been in a waffle house for a very long time. If you like the food bring your own stick of butter.

                  2. IMHO, they're only great when you've been drinking. And they are a fast fix for a hangover.

                    I love their coffee, the Toddle House (ham & cheese omelet) and hash browns - scattered, smothered, and covered (onions & cheese).

                    Their pecan waffles are pretty yummy too.

                    1. they're pretty gross. go to IHOP.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: fara

                        The last time I went to IHOP, it was gross. Waffles houses are hit or miss, try to go to one in a nicer neighborhood.

                      2. The waffles are great - I'm not a Belgian waffle fan and their thinner tender waffle is more like home made.
                        I like their scrambled egg and cheese breakfast too - served with raisin bread and apple butter.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: eimac

                          I love WH because it is one of the few chains where you can get a non-Belgian waffle. I can't stand Belgian waffles, but I love the thin style and no one ever has them anymore. Unfortunately I live nowhere near any Waffle Houses - so I must go waffleless (and my ego doesn't allow Eggo).

                        2. I worked in a WH as a kid as a line cook, and still visit whenever I go south. It must have been a good one. Here's what still impresses me:

                          They are incredibly union-friendly and name-brand friendly. Many of their "waffle house brand" products are re-labeled name brands, but they like to advertise their name brands too.

                          They work to retain their workforce for years, unlike many fast-food chains. The WH where I worked had seven staff members who had worked at that location for more than twelve years.

                          The line cook who was training me had worked there for twenty-seven years. (Needless to say, he passed my mom's over-easy test). He taught me to reach to the front-right of the egg fridge for scrambles (that spot was the warmest, being closest to the door and to the oven, de-freshening the eggs) and to reach for the left-back of the fridge for over-easies. These eggs were delivered daily, so the freshness-difference I'm describing could be measured in "minutes exposed to a ten-degree difference." It made all the difference in whether I broke a yolk or not. I'm still impressed with that.

                          Cook skill and care made a huge difference in many products: eggs (timing and yolk breakage), hash browns (especially browning), meats, and order accuracy. Since they call orders and use no chits, the cook must remember everything. That was difficult.

                          My recommendation: go very early on a Sunday morning. Going early will avoid the crowds; Sunday will guarantee an experienced crew.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: enhF94

                            Great post, and since I love my eggs "over easy", I'd be very interested in hearing more about your mom's test. To me, the yolks shouldn't be broken, but still runny when you cut into them. (And, of course, served with real home fries!)

                            If you have any tips for the home cook, I for one would love to hear them.

                            Thanks,

                            Kevin

                            1. re: enhF94

                              enhF94 -

                              We always stop at WH on holidays when every other place is closed ... and at times it has been a godsend.

                              One question. The place is open 24/7 365. How do they ever get the place cleaned up when the front is always in service?

                              1. re: jlawrence01

                                The main times they have for cleaning are between 2 PM and 5 PM (between the lunch and dinner rushes) and then again from about 4 AM to 6 AM (after the drunk people have gone home, but before breakfast). One thing that greatly facilitates cleaning is the lack of carpets; all the tile floor takes is a good mopping and the occasional polish.

                                1. re: jlawrence01

                                  I wondered the same question, but only because the WHs I went to on childhood vacations have a serious need of cleaning.

                              2. I grew up down south amd waffle house trips were at least a weekly occurance, and not just when drunk (though sometimes quite drunk!) I loved to get the chopped steak and eggs, scattered and smothered, and instead of ketchup on the hash browns I'd use their syrup - made them nice and sweet. The waffles were hit or miss, sometimes great, other times terrible. I can also remember some rather interesting conversations with fellow diners on topics such as theology or politics. Everyone needs to experience WH at least once!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: ewallace001

                                  "Experience" is the right word, I think. Beyond the food, Waffle House is an experience that occupies a unique place in the culture of the South and America at large. Maybe it's the communal nature of the joints (mostly bar seating), maybe it's the night owl reputation, who know? The popularity of the chain has even given rise to situations like that found at the I-77 and Sunset Road interchange in Charlotte, NC: two Waffle Houses at the same exit: one supposedly for the locals, one for the interstate travellers. A former co-worker's friend liked to tell of his "brush with death": dining at one of the two Waffle Houses at the same time a shooting took place at the other!

                                  1. re: Low Country Jon

                                    A group of friends and I stumbled into one of those at Sunset Road a few years back and stumbled right back outside when we saw how smoky it was. Every WH I have been in is filled with smoke. How can you eat in that environment? This was thick, acrid smoke.

                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                      Come to Florida -- No smoking in any restaurant in the State.

                                      1. re: Alfred G

                                        Ohio, too. And lots and lots of Waffle Houses.

                                        That could be our state motto.

                                2. We have a good Waffle House. I will drive pass several burger joints to get a burger from WH...because their burgers are fresh cooked to order.

                                  1. Definitely agree with the good/awful, hit or miss assessments. Hadn't been to a WH in 15 years until last week, responding to a late afternoon craving for breakfast foods. I-17 & Union Hills looks like a newer location but was thoroughly unwelcoming, we almost left and went to Cracker Barrel - I'm still wishing we had! Great idea to check the bathrooms first -- we surely would have left without eating. We didn't touch the ice waters our server set down with her entire palm wrapped around the tops. I had to ask her for a clean mug and new hot water. They must have plenty of cups -- it was cold to the touch and the water only lukewarm. If it did come right from the dish machine, they need to use hotter water. DH had a grilled cheese with bacon and didn't complain but is not as finicky as I am. Waffle was limp, pale, undercooked and missing a large chunk, as if it were a waning moon. Grits needed improvement to be tasteless. I had to use napkins to grasp the syrup, it hadn't been wiped in who-knows-how-long, maybe only since the last guest, but that's too long. I did my time in a diner; ketchup, S&P, sugar and napkin holder should be wiped down at every reset. Everything was sticky and covered with greasy fingerprints. Maybe we'll try I-17 and Bell before playing taps for WH.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Herbalicious

                                      Herbalicious,
                                      The one at I-17 and Bell isn't bad. Eaten there when I'm in town. Also, the one off of I-10 at Baseline is good. It may be the better of the two. I haven't had an issue with the food at either one. But, then, I get a pecan waffle with a side of grits with a cup of coffee. Yum. The waffles remind me of the ones I would get from my grandma when I was a kid.

                                    2. We're lucky, we've got a great one near our house and have hit some pretty good ones on roads south. Our local has a great crew, that's beginning to recognize us, and quite a cast of characters coming and going. The waffles are always piping hot and crisp, the hash browns sometimes a bit soggy but they're always generous with the cheese and onions and ham, coffee is excellent. They have raisin toast and Johnny Cash on the jukebox--what more could you want? Especially at 2 am.

                                      1. My first visit to a Waffle House was on a business trip to Nashville in 1995. I think I had seen them before but had never gone into one as they were not terribly common on the west coast. It was next door to my hotel and I walked over for breakfast. It was quite an experience. I was just sitting there waiting for my breakfast to come when one of the customers placed a quarter in the juke box and on came a Waffle House song and immediately all of the waitresses and the two cooks behind the counter, and nearly two-thirds of the customers, started singing along with the song and dancing. It was straight out of Grease. One of the funniest things I have ever seen. I was almost crying I was laughing so hard. The song ended and they just went back to work like nothing had happened. Made me a convert.

                                        Cheesy eggs on the side, double bacon and a waffle please.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: AzDumpling

                                          That is hilarious, AzDumpling. Do wish we had them in this part of the west but we do not. Southerngal mentioned their good burgers while eimac mentioned the thin waffles, like the ones I grew up eating. It is hard to find those waffles now days. Most are Belgium, which are good however, I prefer the thin ones. BnF approves of thin waffles.
                                          -BnF

                                          1. re: Big N Fat

                                            ...Just wish we could get a WH in Western Arizona.
                                            -BnF

                                          2. re: AzDumpling

                                            WH cheesy eggs are my favorite breakfast item at WH.

                                          3. The waffles themselves are good, but

                                            1) They only serve margarine, not butter
                                            2) The syrup they serve with your waffle is, in my opinion, atrocious

                                            Until they fix that, I'd rather go to an IHOP, Lyons, or (sad to say) Denny's for a waffle.

                                            On the other hand, the eggs, breakfast meats, and hash browns are good.

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: aynrandgirl

                                              I love Waffle House. I import my own butter, Land o' Lakes and leave the syrup off. Someone mentioned smoky atmosphere, in Houston city limits there is no somking, thankfully. Drove to New Orleans a while back and seemingly every town on I-10 had one.

                                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                                No real butter. That's too bad. When ya' get a good thin waffle, it is nice to have real butter (at least available) and good quality syrups. Still, none this far West near the I-40.
                                                -BnF

                                                1. re: Big N Fat

                                                  Since they don't have real butter at WH, and I rarely carry any of my own with me - ha, I have been known (in fact all the time) to eat my pecan (and definitely the chocolate chip one) waffle sans butter or syrup. Just dry and plain. Sounds kind of boring, but I think it is just nicely sweet enough to be able to do that. Kind of like a soft cookie or muffin. And then of course washed down with their very good coffee and I'm good to go....

                                                  1. re: Christine

                                                    Oh Christine, I don't carry butter with me, but I will if I go to Waffle House, Does this make WH destination dining??? (I don't go often, health issue and all.)

                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                      James, where in Houston do you eat at a Waffle House? It must be way outside the loop. We also love that place, but the only time we go is when we are in Galveston. I love the hash browns with stuff mixed in. Can't remember what they call it.

                                                      1. re: danhole

                                                        Danhole, a bit outside the loop, on Westheimer just west of the toll road on the north side.

                                                      2. re: James Cristinian

                                                        I guess that if first they built a Waffle House near me, I would also have to take my own real butter for my waffle or pancakes. I'm getting hungry now. Hey WH, build us a Waffle House!
                                                        -BnF

                                                        1. re: Big N Fat

                                                          They don't serve pancakes at Waffle House. Don't even try.

                                                    2. re: Big N Fat

                                                      Our neighborhood WH is not the type of place I like to hang out in (and I'll hang out in some pretty unpleasant places) so the wife and I get a couple of waffles to go and heat them back in the toaster oven. Then we slather them with butter and maple syrup. Livin' large.

                                                2. I've never been dissapointed at a Waffle House, but I've never been impressed. My kids love it. Eggs cooked as ordered - I also like the cheesy eggs, waffles crisp and hot - I like the pecan ones, and basic diner type coffee. Huge piles of hash browns. And hot sauce!

                                                  Definitely worth a try..

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Richard 16

                                                    Count me in the "hit n miss" column for WH. When I was younger I used to drive on long trips, in all hours of the morning. So a WH open 24 hours was a blessing...sometimes. Some of them were clean with lovely waitstaff. Some of them were nasty, dirty, with nasty waitstaff that looked like trolls...something out of a science fiction movie.

                                                    It's just one of those chains that REALLY varies from location to location.

                                                  2. I love me some waffle house! I'm a convert for sure, the first time DH took me in I was VERY dubious. now I love grits, love their over easies and OMG - they will actually cook my bacon the way I like it! Haven't been in a while because it's not exactly weight watchers friendly - but as an occasional treat on vacation, it's the best!

                                                    1. Simply put, NO! But if you've made an early start and have to travel the interstates, they provide a safe stop for a breakfast that will get you to a more satisfactory destination. And in my case it adds to my determination to find a really good spot for my dinner meal - and not on the road.

                                                      1. Waffle House is the best place for omlettes...especially ham and cheese. It;s the best deal for the money.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: apb1235

                                                          Thin waffles and a good omelette! Sounds good.
                                                          -BnF

                                                        2. We look for WH when we are traveling. DH always gets his over-easies the way he likes them. I vary between a BLT and bisquits and gravy. The gravy really has flavor and sausage in it. Very hard to find good gravy on the road.

                                                          1. I love them, but we only get to go once a year on our way to or from Hilton Head. Maybe it's because of that novelty that I love WH so much, but we've always enjoyed our big breakfasts there. I still am amazed at the number of plates a meal there seems to require, but if I'm not doing the dishes I don't much care! My only complaint has already been noted -- no real butter. Maybe it's a cost thing. Can't possibly be a health concern with all the grease that goes with the meal. But breakfast at WH is always a highlight of our trips south.

                                                            1. went to WH last weekend in B'ham AL - got my fix! :) wish we had one in Philly, can't get grits anywhere!

                                                              1. Being from the land of Waffle Houses, sometimes a block or two apart, I can tell you that these reviews hit the mark. We don't go to the WH nearest us, but love the ones about 15 minutes in either direction. We have the waitress ask the cook to go light on the LowMelt or whatever grease they're using. And so true about going there after a night of partying.
                                                                I like their bacon, the cheesy eggs, always the grits (they seem to taste better there), the pecan waffles and the hamburger. I love chili so may try that next time. Wonder if it's like Wendy's chili, which I love.

                                                                1. sometimes great and sometimes very bad...
                                                                  a nice cheap method for feeding a gambling addiction. only somewhat better odds than Roulette