So I just reblogged a thing about Waffle House and I need to explain some shit about this wonderful chain of restaurants.
First, some facts.
All Waffle Houses look the same. This does not mean that they’re all built similarly, it means that they’re literally all the same blueprint. The guy who created Waffle House decided that building would be cheapest if he got a squad of builders who are really good at building Waffle Houses and only build Waffle Houses. If there’s too many people for one Waffle House to handle? Don’t remodel it, build another one across the street.
Waffle House is open 24/7. Waffle House is always open. One of FEMA’s more informal disaster indices is the Waffle House Index because only in the most dire straits does Waffle House ever close. It’ll operate with a limited menu before it closes.
Waffle House employees are hella friendly. The managers will put pictures of the local school sports teams by the door, the waitresses and cooks like to talk to customers, they put pictures of regulars over the counter, it’s all very friendly and homey.
Waffle House is a staple of local culture. If you have a Waffle House near your college, you can probably get a discount there. If you get back really late from a sportsball game, you probably go to Waffle House for that 2 AM meal. If the bar closed and now you’re hungry, you go to Waffle House. If the churches, schools, and government buildings of the American Southeast all closed down, the Waffle House would probably rise up as a center of community.
Which brings me to why Waffle House is a sacred institution.
That shit is liminal as hell. The same blueprint for all of them? All Waffle Houses are connected through the Astral Plane, all Waffle House doors lead into the same building. Magic as shit. But Waffle House isn’t one of those dangerous fae liminal spaces, Waffle House is the safest of them all. Did that creep at the bar follow you to Waffle House? If you hide in the bathroom for five minutes he’ll be gone because you might have gone in the bathroom of the Waffle House on Busbee but you come out of the bathroom into the one on Chastain, but after you get your waffle and leave you’ll come back out to your car in the parking lot of the one on Busbee. Waffle House employees know how to call 911 and if shit goes down they will. If there’s a robbery, they might just beat the shit out of the robber, that happened recently.
People like to go to Waffle House after events. It doesn’t matter that the cheerleaders and the color guard hate each other, when you’re at Waffle House at 3AM after a far-away football game, you sit next to each other because there’s no room if you don’t sit three to a bench. There’s a video floating around of a bunch of drunk white girls being overly friendly at the Waffle House and none of them know each other but they - and the employees - are all saying ‘hi’ for the camera. That’s Waffle House. There’s something in the waffles that makes people be nice to each other, I don’t know what it is, but they should probably spray it from crop dusters and bring world peace.
Waffle House food is really good. It’s not gourmet by ANY means whatsoever, but there’s something about it that just feels Good And Cozy And Right. Waffle House waffles are like grandma waffles. It’s such a liminal space that your grandma probably is helping make those waffles. Thank your grandma and thank the Waffle House cooks.
In conclusion, Waffle House is a sacred and liminal institution and almost as magical as the Library or the Theatre, without the possibility of hostile fae whimsy.
Disclaimer: Fae whimsy, and fae themselves, are not bad things at all. The Good Folk of the Hills are beautiful and powerful and make excellent neighbors.