Have you ever been to a restaurant where the customer’s always wrong? I have and it’s called the Waffle House.
For many Atlanta residents, the Waffle House restaurant is a southern icon to love and loathe. The local hang-out waivers between pride and pity with food that’s both a source of sustenance (usually Friday and Saturday nights, after the club) and nutritional mayhem (every day of the week). No matter what side you claim, there are two things you can be certain of — no other restaurant does waffles or customer service quite like the Waffle House. The customer service, unlike the waffles which are consistently golden, fluffy, and delicious, is a crapshoot. The wait staff will either move slowly but courteously or fast and with indifference. As for the degree of sanitation you can expect, that depends on what you consider sanitary.
Ultimately, when you dine at the Waffle House, you’re enjoying the caloric overload, not the five-star experience.
Not long ago, I met a friend late one Sunday morning for brunch at a Waffle House here in Atlanta. I was chill about the slow service because I’d brought my own cup of tea and had a foil-wrapped veggie sausage patty incubating in my purse. I was also happily anticipating the hot, syrupy plate of goodness I’d been thinking about since 4 a.m..
We placed our order and bided our time swapping stories about the weekend’s antics until something else peaked our interest. Normally, I do not ear-hustle in public but behind me, a voice of outrage and indignation began to pummel our waitress with numerous grievances over the pitiable (read: typical) Waffle House service. I said to myself ‘Where does this guy think he is? Doesn’t he know that they reserve and often exercise the right to toss out unruly patrons? If he keeps this up he’s going to have to have his waffles elsewhere.’
I stopped thinking about my neighbor’s circumstances once my waffles arrived but by the time my eggs came, he couldn’t take it anymore. The distressed gentleman asked to speak to the manager though the waitress assured him that his order was still coming and she was sorry it was taking so long, there was confusion in the kitchen. Moments later, the waitress returned with his food and an explanation that the manger was too busy to speak with him about his woes. The sheer absurdity that this man expected better service, had the nerve to ask for the manager and said manager’s lack of concern for his plight nearly made me choke with laughter. I had tears were in my eyes and had to clear my throat with a swig of OJ orange juice, as I thought to myself ‘Only at the Waffle House.’
I don’t know what the Waffle House’s allure is for everyone else but I come strictly for the melt-in-the-mouth waffle delight — not the service. Don’t expect anything else, ladies. Here’s a guide to Atlanta’s loved and loathed Waffle House locations so you won’t be caught begging for your grub.
Waffle House to Love
Where: Near the Center for Disease Control: 2886 Clairmont Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA
Notes: Sanitation is clearly a priority at this location.
Where: Pharr Road: 3016 Piedmont Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30305
Notes: Safe and clean, the best WH for late night celebrity sightings.
Waffle House to Loathe
Where: Lindbergh Plaza: 2581 Piedmont Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
Notes: Prime Buckhead location. Avoid looking at the cooking area, it might spoil your appetite.
Where: Howell Mill: 1700 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Notes: A WH with a reputation for being “greasier than most” and serves a sketchy crowd.
Off The Beaten Path
Where: The Intercontinental Hotel, Buckhead: 3315 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta, GA
Notes: 24-hour service and not-so-harsh lighting for post-club dining.