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No Waffle House in NJ

ebchower Feb 16, 2014 08:56 AM

New Jersey falls just outside the contiguous range of states that have Waffle House. It's a safe assumption that any expansion would involve NJ. I know they have a loyal cult following. Anyone been to one and have an opinion on whether we are better off without?

  1. n
    newfie29 Feb 16, 2014 09:07 AM

    Love love love Waffle House! The best hash browns which you can get many different ways (with onions, chili, cheese, etc., or any combination thereof). They also have grits, which can be dolled up as well. The food preparation is always in plain sight, and the ordering lingo is part of the schtick - their bread/toast selection isn't great, but I'd rather fill up on the other stuff anyway...

    1. z
      zhelder Feb 16, 2014 09:14 AM

      They're small, cramped, run-down, and located in very rough neighborhoods with the clientele to match. And yet, they're fantastic. The food is simple, cheap, and delicious, and you're guaranteed to leave with a good story or two.

      Here's my favorite WH story: I was at a Waffle House in a tough section of Jacksonville, FL, and a regular customer asked one of the waitresses, a woman who definitely looked like she came from the school of hard knocks, how her daughter was. The woman said she was fine, when the daughter, a girl who couldn't have been more than 16 or 17, came in. "And how's YOUR daughter?" the customer asked the girl.

      "Fine. She's starting school soon, " the girl replied. Check, please.

      Seriously, I don't see Waffle House expanding into the Northeast anytime soon. The real estate prices are too high and the chain is too "down home" for us uppity Yankees.

      But if they do, I'll be first on line, with one hand on my wallet and the other on some type of self-defense item. Gimme them hash browns!

      2 Replies
      1. re: zhelder
        carolinadawg Feb 16, 2014 09:25 AM

        "They're small, cramped, run-down, and located in very rough neighborhoods..."

        Not universally true. Some are brand new. And a lot of them are located at interstate highway exits, so there's rarely a "neighborhood" involved.

        1. re: carolinadawg
          rockycat Feb 16, 2014 06:25 PM

          And there's a large, bright, well landscaped one almost ready to open not all that far from my office - definitely not a rough neighborhood.

      2. carolinadawg Feb 16, 2014 09:17 AM

        WH is great. Can't imagine living somewhere they don't exist. Why is expansion into NJ a safe assumption?

        1. w
          wadejay26 Feb 16, 2014 09:49 AM

          I have 2 in my area of PA. Breakfast there is pretty poor, but they do make mediocre grits, which is better than no grits. Surprisingly, my favorite item is a greasy cheeseburger with fries. Not even close to gourmet burger, but more like a greasy spoon burger from my youth.

          1. j
            James Cristinian Feb 16, 2014 05:48 PM

            I bring my own butter for the waffles instead of the spread. There are almost 600,000 locations on the 350 mile Houston to New Orleans trek, which is a brutal trip except for the long bridges over swamps in Louisiana, and Waffle House of course!! You want Waffle House, trust me.

            1. c
              cwdonald Feb 16, 2014 06:14 PM

              They are a chain version of a diner. NJ is better off with privately owned diners that have local charm rather than a chain/franchise.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cwdonald
                James Cristinian Feb 16, 2014 07:01 PM

                I was on business in a 70,000 ish Texas town and after one day they remembered exactly what I ordered. A little local charm to me, Baytown, Tx. Waffle House to be exact.

                1. re: cwdonald
                  Njchicaa Feb 17, 2014 04:34 AM

                  I tend to agree. We have Perkins and IHOP here in this area yet we pick one of the local diners to have breakfast at every time.

                2. grampart Feb 17, 2014 04:29 AM

                  New Jersey doesn't deserve a Waffle House.

                  1. b
                    Big Bad Voodoo Lou Feb 17, 2014 08:09 AM

                    My wife and I are huge fans of our brand-new Waffle House in the Central Florida 'burbs. It's clean and shiny, service is always fast and friendly, and the food is always delicious. They have the best hash browns ever, as someone already stated, and some of our favorite waffles. I also love the breakfast biscuit sandwiches: $2 and change for bacon, egg, and cheese on a fluffy biscuit (or a jalapeno cheddar biscuit).

                    Another one of my favorites is the $2 double cheeseburger comes on a grilled, buttered bun with melty cheese and grilled onions and is better than almost all fast-food burgers that cost double.

                    They also have great sweet tea, and they'll make you a real vanilla Coke with vanilla syrup (or an orange cream soda with the same vanilla syrup -- trust me on this).

                    To be fair, I'm sure it's a very different scene at night -- probably more like the Cantina on Tattooine than a friendly neighborhood diner -- but we don't stay out that late anymore.

                    I'll take Waffle House over any frou-frou breakfast or brunch place, or any of the "breakfast" chains (IHOP, Cracker Barrel, etc.). We've never been disappointed there, and I'm sure we never will.

                    1. j
                      jiffypop Feb 17, 2014 09:55 AM

                      Waffle house in NJ? I vote no. We have diners and coffee shops/breakfast and lunch places everywhere. Gotta admit, though, the people watching at WH is FABULOUS. Grits? who cares? the ladies in the southern ones i've been to keep doing their best to get me to like them, and i keep trying, but it's not gonna happen

                      1. r
                        Rigmaster Feb 17, 2014 10:03 AM

                        I would love to see WH in NJ, but it probably won't happen because of the love affair with small diners. Some diners are good, but a great many of them are pretty bad. WH is just a known, consistent decent place.

                        Local towns probably won't be too anxious to let them in, but there are a lot of strip malls that should be glad to get something steady.

                        As to the "class" of WH diners, not sure anyone can be so general about it. There are a lot of very wealthy people eating at WH's when visiting their WH-loving children in college.

                        As with any other place, it's all about the local employees and management.

                        1. grampart Feb 17, 2014 10:13 AM

                          The folks in Bethlehem PA seem to like their Waffle House.

                          1. Boston_Otter Feb 17, 2014 10:22 AM

                            Always loved Waffle House. Sure, NJ has diners -- there's diners everywhere. But WH is in its own unique class, and I've never had a better pecan waffle or hashbrowns (scattered, smothered, covered, and diced) anywhere.

                            1. n
                              Nanzi Feb 17, 2014 10:45 AM

                              We love them when travelling. We know exactly what to expect.....good breakfast and quickly so we can be on our way. Yup some of the people there look rough....but they have to eat too....and work....and for that I give them big credit....it's not a job to lol around being lazy. They all work hard.
                              But when at home I can make it just as yummy as they do!!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Nanzi
                                Boston_Otter Feb 17, 2014 11:54 AM

                                Quick WH story around "working hard". I once stopped in a WH late in the evening, and surprisingly was the only person there.. and there was only one employee, doing cashier/manager/ordering/line duty. I asked for a waffle and hashbrowns, scattered/smothered/covered, and he looked sort of awkward. "Sure you want them with cheese?" I said yes, please. He nodded and said, "Be right back," and stepped into the back room. I then saw him sprint out the door and run down the street to the nearest 7-11, then run back a minute later at full speed, package of Kraft singles in hand, ran in the door, and immediately started making my hash browns. That's dedication!

                              2. c
                                chazzer Feb 17, 2014 08:29 PM

                                How can you not want a place that invokes devotion like this


                                1. Ttrockwood Feb 17, 2014 08:32 PM

                                  Doesn't jersey have the most diners (as in a diner restaruant)per capita than any state?
                                  With so many of those classic old fashioned diners (aka similar menu and price point) waffle house may decide the competition is too stiff....

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Ttrockwood
                                    The Professor Feb 18, 2014 08:03 AM

                                    Maybe not...I've lived in NJ for my entire life and while there are certainly a LOT of diners, it's usually pretty hit or miss proposition as to whether the food will be decent. Some diners serve truly heinous food.

                                    I wouldn't mind seeing Waffle House expand into NJ...I always eat at WH when traveling and have yet to be disappointed. I particularly enjoy breakfasts there.

                                    1. re: The Professor
                                      grampart Feb 18, 2014 08:36 AM

                                      Boy, ain't that the truth! I grew up in Hunterdon County and frequented many diners in the early to mid 60's. There were some great ones like the Circle Diner in Flemington (long gone), the Spinning Wheel in Whitehouse/Lebanon (still going strong), the Country Gentleman and Bridgewater diners on the Somerville circle, the Sunset Diner on Rt. 22 near Bound Brook, and many others. However, there were also those in the middle that weren't so great but still acceptable in a pinch, like the Bound Brook diner and the Washington diner. At the other end of the spectrum were joints like the Royal Diner on 22 near North Branch. The only redeeming quality of this place was that it was right across the highway from the Shamrock Bar and provided a refuge at 2 am until sober enough to drive home. Then you had the Whitehouse Diner (my home town). Cute waitresses (at times) and Val's rice pudding were the main attractions, at least for this teenager.
                                      Anyway, I do believe if we had Waffle Houses spread around this area they would have been very, very popular. Especially if they were open 24/7! btw, the common denominator of all these places (including WH) is that they all served coffee that ranged from disgusting to almost decent.

                                  2. Uncle Bob Feb 18, 2014 03:38 PM

                                    <<<<<As with any other place, it's all about the local employees and management>>>>


                                    Best, most accurate post in the thread!!

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