“I ain’t in no hurry to get fatter.”
I don’t know who the guy was, but between his nonchalance about waiting for a seat at the Waffle House this morning and his “How to pick up chicks” T-shirt that was a step-by-step guide to … picking up a small chicken, he seemed OK by me.
He also didn’t seem particularly fat, but that was neither here nor there.
I believe Waffle Houses in the South are like Dunkin’ Donuts in Massachusetts — every town is issued one whether it needs it or not. (In the town next to where I live, the Dunkies is a stone’s throw both from the town line and a highway entrance, as if someone said, “Oh, crap, we never put in a Dunkin’ Donuts!”)
Yet, in spite of all the times I’ve traveled to the South, I had never been in one before my wife and I went this morning.
Growing up in a small town in upstate New York has made me a bit of a diner snob, so there are certain things I look for in a “proper” diner. It should be in a small town. It can’t be part of a chain. The customers and waitresses (and it’s almost always waitresses) should all know each other.
When you go, there should be a good chance you meet people you know other than those you came with. And you should be able to refill your own coffee.
I’m not sure Waffle House qualifies on any of these counts — especially being off a near-highway and across the street from a Target — but it still felt like a trip to the diner.
It was small, with everyone in close quarters where you could hear the conversations all around you. The menu was simple — waffles (obviously), sausage, bacon, eggs, hash browns, coffee, etc. Customers sitting at the counter could watch the food being cooked just a few feet away, and the service was quick.
You paid at the register, but you didn’t pay much. I had a waffle and chocolate milk, and my wife had eggs, bacon, hash browns, orange juice and coffee, and the whole bill, including tax, was just over $13.
That part really felt like it was a diner.