Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Deep South Part 1.4 ~ Waffle House
This is a big subject I know. I am sure there are volumes written about Waffle House. I just cannot help myself sometimes.
I have eaten at some horrible Waffle houses and I have eaten in some great ones; that is, if there are great ones. I think that greatness as it relates to WH is relative to how hungry you are. Face it, when you are real hungry WH rocks.
WH is relatively consistent with their food. It would be easy to say that it is hard to mess up eggs and bacon, but there are plenty who cannot seem to pull that off. WH food reviews are very similar to McDonald's food reviews…exactly…what reviews! This blog is not about WH food, it is about the WH people; and that includes you, if you have ever eaten there. Yes, we will talk about the food, eventually.
The staff can make a huge difference at the WH. I used to eat at a WH in Augusta Georgia near my work with a regularity. They had a great staff, specifically the two lead servers who worked the day shift. Other servers would rotate shifts, but those two had solid regular shifts that one could depend on. The amazing part of their service was that they could carry on a continual conversation, which was about whatever was going on in their lives. They would be able to do so, while not only incorporating you into said conversation, but in addition to remembering your order, filling up coffee, shouting out orders, and saying "Hey Y'all" to whomever walked through the door. If you were looking for a deep conversation you may need to go elsewhere as these were mostly puerile jabbering.
Whether or not a WH is successful depends on a staff like the two servers mentioned. There are plenty that are lacking a great staff. The staff is usually shuffling around unfriendly, and uninspired. That is a shame too, because they are letting a large sum of money escape their grasp. With a little friendliness they would be able to grow the business and potentially fatten the pockets! So on that note; I think I should categorize the WH service staff.
High Energy Beehive Hair Service
The two ladies I spoke of above are in this group. They do not care what you think of them so much. They know their job well, and they are focused in a clever way to remove an extra dollar from your pockets. They are the Mayors of their own world. Knowing people by name, face, or food order is what they are good at. Multi-tasking, jabbering, joking, coffee pouring machines is what they are. You will know them when you walk in the store. Sit back and enjoy the ride, it will be a good breakfast and you will leave with a smile on your face.
"Tattoos 'R' Us
I am not sure what it is with WH and Tattoos. I think that it must be a requirement listed on the application sometimes. It is absurd how many tattoos one WH can house. I am not against tattoos in any way, but I just think some people get carried away; maybe they need another hobby like geocaching. A grill cook with a few tattoos actually makes me feel safe in a strange way. However, those WH servers and workers with tattoos all over their neck, fingers, eyebrows, and ears are really distracting me from choosing between scrambled or fried eggs, smothered or topped hash browns. Do excessive tattoos generate more tipped income? Not sure about that; maybe it is a peacock syndrome of sorts. Sporting tattoos attract the opposite sex so that the mating is more clearly defined. Whoever has the best tattoos gets the better mate; sounds about right to me.
You have been there maybe, starving at WH and watching a shuffler shuffle. "Take your sweet ass time" you think as you watch them shuffle about, halfway paying attention to everything around them. Not in a hurry for anything or anybody these employees cause people to lose their minds. My father would not tolerate shufflers. He would be clearing his throat, and if that did not work he would toss in an "excuse me"! As a child this is when I wanted to die, crawl under the table, or run out the door. Mortified, I would have to watch this battle of grunts, huffs, and half comments, as he waged war with the shuffler. If the shuffler was too awful slow we would have to abruptly leave; this would result in another forty five minute search for food. The real good shufflers have the frowsy hair and uniform to match. Their speech is slow and drawn out like they just took four tablespoons of cold sorghum syrup and then tried to recite the Gettysburg Address. Everything about them is slow.
The American Idol
It never fails; every time I go into a WH on a Sunday morning an American Idol is there to greet me. In my local WH some DreadHead Jason Castro look alike is belting out a jukebox hit; similar to Eddie Murphy shouting out Roxanne in a jail cell. Are they entertaining me? I just woke up! I have not had coffee yet. Shut the hell up please. American idol is coming to a city near you. Go audition please, and let me eat in peace. I don't mind the cooks humming or whistling while they work. But for the love of everything that is pure and clean; you are not on stage. If it is not a full blown production I really have no issues. No, the American idols type catches you looking, and that is all that is needed for them to go into Eddie Murphy mode. Do not look at them or acknowledge the singing at all costs or you will be in American Idol hell.
This is the worst. I do not think that anyone really wants to hear anyone else's problems when they go to the WH. Some conversation about how is your day, or the weather is just dandy. I can even go for sports or local news. Heck, I can even go for the Beehive Lady's random conversations about which hair curlers work the best. But when you get a Grumpy telling you how horrible their life is, and how broke they are….. No. Stop it. Shush. Bzzssspt. Zip. Zipit. We did not come to WH to hear your sad story. This is not the Human Affairs department. I came here for breakfast.
I think that WH has been misnamed. I hereby call it "Muggle House" Face it, everyone in a WH is a Muggle, including you when you go. Non-Muggles do not go to WH. They have magic powers (money) that make it so they do not have to go to WH. When you go to WH next time you will think of this and you will agree. You will look around and recognize that everyone there is a Muggle. I embrace being a Muggle. I roll around in the glory of it. I care not to have the magic powers most of the time. Now some magic is necessary for survival, but excessive amounts of magic can make your life complicated. Some folks acquire mass quantities of magic, just to lose it quickly, drifting right back into Muggleness snuggly. This place called Waffle House is for us Muggles. We will not write food reviews for WH, because that would just be silly. If you are not a Muggle, and you would like to dine in this wonderful establishment, I would recommend that you dress down, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Now, about the food, get the special. You do not want to order salad at a WH. Do not try to be too fancy or specific with your order, i.e. pick off what you do not want. Order the waffle slightly crunchy. The onions will make you burp them all day. Do not attempt to order a steak anything but well done.