There Are Two Americas

15 Jan

There are two Americas.

I am not talking about Democrat and Republican. I am not talking about conservative and liberal. I am not even talking about anti-Trump and pro-Trump.

I am talking about Waffle House American and IHOP America.

There is an IHOP a few exits down the interstate with decent pancakes, but we live in the middle of Waffle House America. Those of you who live in IHOP America are missing out in the wonders of a 24 hour breakfast extravaganza.

The wonders of Waffle House are many, but it starts with the hash browns. You can get them scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced and any combination therein. Personally, I like them simply covered. Although, I have gotten them covered and chunked.

In my mind, the ham and cheese omelette is the best accompaniment with the hash browns. The eggs are fluffy, and the cheese is cheesy. What is better than an omelette with cheese along with hash browns covered with cheese?

This morning, we ate at Waffle House in Georgia, the headquarters of Waffle House and the center of the Waffle House world. The restaurant, as always, was filled with a variety of people. In fact, I have always considered Waffle House to be a microcosm of Waffle House America. At any time, you can run into all kinds of people.

Today, we sat next to a young couple who could have been described as Yuppie if being a Yuppie was still a thing. Behind them sat a couple of Muslim women with their kids sitting in the next booth. An elderly man sat alone at the counter next to a man and his young son. An Alabama fan sat on the other side of them. You can always find an Alabama fan in Waffle House.

Here is the thing. There was none of that stereotypical southerners hate everyone nonsense. People of different religions and races were eating a meal in a small restaurant. Perhaps waffles are our great unifier. Everyone loves waffles. If they do not love waffles, then they have to love hash browns covered.

Waffle House is an amazing place, but the system is the most amazing part of it. The wait staff takes orders and, like all good table waiters, write down the order. Then, they stand in a certain spot and yell the order to the cooks. The cooks never see a written order. They remember it all in some kind of Waffle House code. Many times, I have sat in Waffle House in the wee hours of the morning and wondered about their ability to remember everything.

Did I mention wee hours? Waffle House has always been the place for late night revelers who need to soak up the night’s libations with greasy food. It has been the restaurant of choice after many concerts and nights on the town.

There are great stories about nighttime Waffle House visits, but my favorite involves an inebriated friend who wanted a Waffle House shirt. He spent the entire time trying to buy the shirt off the manager’s back. Before we left, he had purchased it for $500. It was ridiculous. The manager just went to his car and put on another one.

In Waffle House America, the yellow sign is a beacon for weary travelers.

It is a warm place in the middle of a cold winter night. It is one last stop who need a hangover cure before the hangover hits. It is a family diner for families headed to church. It is a place for those who have a hankering for breakfast food at dinner time. It is a place where you always recognize the people even if you do not know who they are.

There are two Americas – Waffle House America and IHOP America. Now, someone please tell me about the wonders of that other place.

9 Responses to “There Are Two Americas”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong January 15, 2018 at 02:35 #

    Wow. It has been a long time since I’ve been to either place. We have neither of them out this way. But we have diners and they make GREAT breakfasts. Does that count?

    • Rick January 15, 2018 at 02:39 #

      Any great breakfast counts. However, that may put you in the Independent category.

  2. chandlerswainreviews January 15, 2018 at 03:57 #

    Now this is interesting. Personally, I’ve always felt the world was divided between those who eat hushpuppies and those who don’t.

    • Rick January 15, 2018 at 04:34 #

      Who doesn’t eat hushpuppies? They are like manna from heaven.

      • chandlerswainreviews January 15, 2018 at 08:01 #

        You’d be surprised. In this backwards burg of Boston, it’s amazing how many people don’t know what a hushpuppy is, except as a form of footwear. I refer to such types as heathens. They probably think a waffle is a form of indecision.

      • sittingpugs January 18, 2018 at 01:58 #

        Maybe I’ve never had a good one — maybe the only ones I ever saw came with fish and chips from Long John Silvers.

        Today, we sat next to a young couple who could have been described as Yuppie if being a Yuppie was still a thing.

        The Yuppies (or “yumpies” as I used to call young, upwardly, mobile professionals) of American Psycho era have turned into brand ambassadors and content creators. Who’s replaced them?

      • Rick January 18, 2018 at 02:53 #

        I don’t know who replaces Yuppies. It certainly isn’t Millennials.

  3. John January 15, 2018 at 15:46 #

    About 7-8 years ago an IHOP opened about 1/2 mile from my house. As we don’t have many sitdown restaurants that close, it was an exciting prospect when it plans were announced. The anticipation leading to opening day was sweet, much like their fake maple syrup. The construction seemed to drag on and on, but they finally opened. Oh glorious silver dollar pancakes! Weekend breakfasts will never be the same!

    I’ve been there twice.

    • Rick January 15, 2018 at 22:54 #

      I hope it was good those two times.

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