Happy Happy Waffle House

You native southerners may think I'm nuts, but I'm crazy about the Waffle House. We didn't have them where I grew up. I'd never even seen one until I moved to Texas. All those years I'd drive the Texas highways and see them alongside the road, and I'd wonder what marvelous treats lay within. I never set foot in one until that road trip with my girlfriend. Turns out, it was everything I'd hoped for.

The Waffle House is great. First off, they specialize in waffles. I mean waffles, man. How freaking cool is that?

I love everything about the place, from the food on the menu to the unpretentious atmosphere. When you go to an IHOP or Denny's, you get a feeling that the menu was designed by a marketing agency and subject to rigorous focus group evaluation. At the Waffle House, it's like some crazy guy sat down and thought, "What other weird shit can we mix in with them hash browns?"

The bizarrely complicated menu is a graphic designer's slow-motion trainwreck accident. This is a restaurant that caters primarily to bleary-eyed travelers and tipsy late night partiers. You know, people with malfunctioning higher-level brain functions. The Waffle House makes them sort through a menu more complex than any I've seen. It's cruel, and I like that.

Earlier this year, a group of us went to Galveston for the weekend. We searched for the cheapest hotel we could find. The place was pretty skanky, but it turned out to be next to a Waffle House. So, things couldn't be better. I ate there every day. Sometimes twice in a day: once after the music wound down and the bar threw us out, and again for breakfast when I woke up later that afternoon.

That was the last time I'd been to a Waffle House—until last night.

I was teaching a class in southeast Austin last night. I'd been on my feet and talking a couple hours, and my head was a little fuzzy. I missed the turn off Riverside onto Montopolis. I was continuing towards Ben White, in precisely the wrong direction. I decide to continue on and loop around to 183. I looked off to the distance and—hark!—there was a Waffle House!

Turns out, I'd stumbled across the grand opening of a new Waffle House. It's on Ben White eastbound towards the airport, just a bit before the 183 exit. The place was packed. There were over a dozen people behind the counter, probably doing training.

Their waffle, egg, bacon, and grits combination was on special, a buck and a half off. I ordered one, eggs over medium, with a decaf. I contemplated a side of hash browns, but decided that may be a bit piggish.

The decaf was out, and more needed to be brewed. I said I'd wait. Eventually, food started coming out and still no coffee. Finally, I just canceled it.

The over medium eggs were served with runny whites—even runnier than over easy should be. (I guess the technical term is "uncooked," eh?) The bacon never came. Given it was an opening, I was expecting things might be a little rough, but not a disaster of this scale.

But that's all ok, because my hometown now has a Waffle House. I like the Waffle House.

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re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Your chance discovery reminds me of when I lived on Far West and was going to UT in the early '90s. My roommate and I stumbled on a pre-grand opening of the Wendy's there. They were working out the kinks as well, so everything was free. We made total pigs of ourselves.

The Wife has been eyeing that Waffle House with lust and wondering when it would open. We've passed it several times over the past few months on the way to and from the airport. The Boy is also a freak for IHOP. Given the proximity of the Waffle House to our house, I'm guessing it won't be long before we find ourselves there.

I think we'll give it a month to work out the kinks.

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

I would like to clarify that I have not refused to let Chip get a cat. What I refused to do was let him kidnap the neighbor's charming, adorable cat and bring it home as our own. You can't steal other people's cats, Chip, even if they are as cute as that one. Non-tough-cookies will agree with me, I am sure.

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Oh. my. god. You have just made my day! I grew up in Collegedale, TN and I loved going to Waffle House. I was in Houston last weekend and actively sought out a Waffle House to get my fix and to introduce it to my in-laws. I think I know what I'm having for dinner tonight!

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

[mental note] Schedule an Austin journal meeting at Waffle House. [/mental note]

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Thank you for making me grin with this exuberant post. :) Based on your review, I'll make a point of visiting, since I've never been to a Waffle House either.

I won't comment on the cat adoption thing, lest I create friction. But I really agree; you should get a cat!!! :) (Oops, I guess I commented on it.)

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, scattered, smothered, and covered, baby! And scrambled eggs with raisin toast.

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

I think I stayed in that motel next to the Waffle House in Galveston about, let's see, 30 years ago on a trip with my parents. Given that even then it was the kind of el cheapo place my parents preferred, I can only imagine what it must be like now.

I'm too vague on my southeast Austin geography to figure out where in the hell the new Waffle House is from your description. Wafflehouse.com and yp.yahoo.com (one of the slowest-updating sites on the net) aren't any help, either. Can you provide a street address or an intersection?

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

I've seen the new Waffle House, too, and lusted after their luscious high-fat/high-carb meals. And don't forget their watered-down orange juice! Glad they finally made it to my side of Austin.

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Prentiss, it's at the southeast corner of Ben White (360) and Riverside.

Head eastbound from I-35 on Ben White. Travel about 4 miles, to Riverside Drive. The Waffle House is just past, on the right. Look for the sign. If you hit 183 you've gone a tad too far.

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Got it. Thanks!

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Chip, I also love Waffle House. I am from Texas but never saw one until I went to college in the Panhandle. The only downside (besides the menu that also doubles as a field sobriety test) is that they only take cash. Thanks for putting in (out?) a good word for the House.

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Yes!!! Thanks Chip. I saw it when I went to the airport and was so happy! I always try to stop on the way home from Dallas at one of the numerous WH's. I was so exicted when I saw this one. Can't wait to go try it. Although it probably needs a little while for the grease to set in and the cooktops to get up to speed. Joy!!

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

Thanks for the update, It's great Waffle House is back in Austin. I saw they were building an Austin Waffle House, there used to be one by the old Airport.

Too bad the company web site doesn't show its there.

Good thing Google helped me find this site.

re: Happy Happy Waffle House

thanks for your wonderful comments about waffle house...i am an asst. mgr at a louisiana location and i love the job.it really is a good place to work...love ya'll.............mike