In Defense of Waffle House

“You write too much about Waffle House,” writes John, from Hoboken, New Jersey. “I’m sick of reading about stupid Waffle Houses, they can’t be as good as you purport. We don’t have them here where I live.”

“You write about Waffle House like it’s the afterlife,” writes Carol of Clearwater, Florida. “For crying out loud, move on. It’s just grease and waffles.”

In response to my critics, I have three words: T-bone.

It’s 11:27 p.m. I walk into the Waffle House in Hampton, Georgia. The place is full tonight because it’s the only place open. And it’s the only place in America that serves a T-bone steak and a few eggs for under $15.

There are truckers with sagging eyes. College-age kids who have been out late, drinking too much Ovaltine. A table of young women in nursing scrubs, speaking rapid-fire Español. A four-top of guys in neon road-crew vests, eating hash browns.

My server tonight is Robert. He is young. His skin is the color of mahogany. His eyes do not focus on me directly. At first, I’m not sure whether he’s looking at me until he speaks.

“How are you tonight, boss?”

My grandmother’s vision was impaired all her life. His mannerisms remind me of hers.

“Know what you’d like to eat?” he says in a friendly tone.

So I place my order: T-bone. Hash browns. Coffee. The trifecta.

Robert writes this down with painstaking carefulness. I can tell he is straining to see his own text as he writes. He holds his nose only inches from the notepad. But nothing slows him down. This kid is a real talent.

Meanwhile, Robert has a full house of customers constantly calling for him, asking for this and that, and just generally being giant pains in the Blessed Assurance.

Moreover, I can tell Robert is working against his own eyesight. This young man has every right to be aggravated tonight, maybe even a little cranky. Because some of his troublesome customers are barking orders like brass hats in the heat of combat.

But this kid isn’t even fazed. He manages to make me feel like the most important customer on planet Earth.

I wish you could meet him. This young man is so cheerful, dutiful, and outgoing that he makes Santa Claus look like a jerk.

After writing my ticket, he calls out my order to the cook. And here is where Waffle House stands above the finest Michelin five-star restaurants in the world.

Watching a Waffle House server call orders is like watching someone work in oils or clay. Like watching the cliff swallows gather in San Juan Capistrano. Like seeing a sunrise in Waipahu. Like watching old Larry Welk strike up the orchestra.

The server stands on his or her mark. Then, using a special vocabulary, they communicate to the cook using the “Pull, Drop, Mark” calling system. A system based on three basic but elegant steps.

And it is a thing of beauty.

“Pull one T-bone!” he calls out. “Drop one in a ring!”

The cook gets to work.

And now, Robert’s job has just become considerably more involved. Because now it’s time for the “magic marking” portion of my order.

This is where each plate is marked by the server in an elaborate secret code, a visual code which relays custom orders to the cook.

This coded system is so complex, so finely tuned, so nuanced, that learning the code is not unlike trying to memorize the periodic table in Norwegian. It takes some servers months to get it right.

For example, if the server sets up your plate with a jelly packet atop a mustard packet, this means the customer wants an extra egg.

If the condiment packet, however, is turned horizontally at the top of the plate, this means the customer wants an omelet with ham.

If there is a ketchup packet in the middle of a plate, it means sirloin, medium. If the packet is at the bottom: sirloin, rare. Packet at the top: sirloin, well done.

If there are two pickles at the bottom of a plate, this means a sandwich with bacon. But if you move those pickles left or right, you indicate different meats.

A mayo packet atop a butter packet, placed atop the cook’s board means a light waffle. If the mayo is facing up; a dark waffle.

If there is a butter packet, mayo packet, mustard packet, jelly packet, three pickles, four nickels, a Saltine cracker, and one shoelace twisted into the shape of the Virgin Mary, this means call for help, the server is about to have a nervous breakdown.

Robert calls my order perfectly. The cook prepares my order with precision agility. My coffee never falls below the rim.

And even though this dining room is chock-full of difficult customers incessantly asking for more stuff, I receive my food from Robert in four minutes and eighteen seconds.

The guy beside me at the counter receives his chicken melt in less time than that. And if this doesn’t impress you, then you can go back to Taco Bell and starve.

The guy next to me finishes his meal and points to Robert.

“Man,” he says, “I am so impressed with this kid. He’s incredible, ain’t he?”

That he is.

Grease and waffles my foot.


  1. Christa Gettys - September 26, 2022 7:12 am

    When, legit, NOAA relies on Waffle House for the weather and actually calls it, ‘The Waffle House Index’!!! Dude! If the link doesn’t work, just google it!

  2. Pubert - September 26, 2022 7:42 am

    Hey John, don’t knock it until you try it- not only is it good- it’s good for you! Reminds me a lot of a place I used to frequent in high school in Lawrenceville, N.J.- the Jigger Shop, where the burgers came hot off the grill piled high with sautéed onions! Besides at 2am. It beats the heck out of starving!

  3. ht - September 26, 2022 7:57 am

    We drive 45 minutes to the closest WH in NJ…a traveling staple, dependable cheer, coffee & meals!

  4. Anissa Beard - September 26, 2022 8:27 am

    I really enjoy being able to read your articles in the morning. Not sure why anyone would complain.

  5. Ed (Bear) - September 26, 2022 8:57 am

    WH is about people… just like you Sean of the South! And you can throw in a hound or two. PS the food ain’t bad either. Thanks for keeping us on the sunny side!

  6. Susan H Poole - September 26, 2022 9:12 am

    The entire thing/production is a perfectly beautiful, coordinated symphony. Kudos to Robert🤗

    • Te - September 26, 2022 10:53 am

      You know It! People may not think WH employees are “high tone” and anyone you’d meet at your garden club meeting, but waitressing ain’t easy, and requires intelligence, great memory and stamina. They got my tip!

  7. Leigh Amiot - September 26, 2022 9:20 am

    My go-to dish is grits and scrambled eggs, stir them together, crumble bacon on top, raisin toast, and a cup of decaf. A server once asked if I wanted a Lipitor to go with that. Another evening a man who is a multi-millionaire sat next to my husband at the bar, he could rub elbows with the country club set if he wanted to, but he’s more at home with people like my husband whom he had hired a number of times to do sign work for his businesses. When you sit at the bar, you often learn the hopes and dreams of the cooks and wait staff, Waffle House is a paying your dues job in a journey, and it feels good to encourage them on their way.

  8. Lavenda - September 26, 2022 9:22 am

    Waffle house is a staple..not to mention some of THE BEST waffles in the world..I don’t get it often but man when I do, I feel like a queen..

  9. Ann - September 26, 2022 10:03 am

    Waffle House is always our go to travel’s tradition in our family! I love the shout…” MORNIN’”! We feel so welcome. Not many writers could take this simple subject and make it more interesting than I could ever imagine. Waffle House just took on a new image for me….you’ve done it again, Sean!

  10. Jocelyn - September 26, 2022 10:22 am

    Who does not love a Waffle House ? People need to experience one. They are always open and waiting to serve. Doesn’t get much better when your needing some vittles. You can write as much as you want about whatever. You are a writer. Duh?

  11. Judy Warmath - September 26, 2022 10:37 am

    Might have to go to Waffle House today…

    • Jae - September 27, 2022 4:23 am

      I truly believe my life is better because of the cheese eggs and raisin toast at WH! Long nights traveling, late flights home, too early mornings needing coffee and a smile…..WH doesn’t disappoint. Thanks for another great story, keep doing you, and kudos to Robert!
      And y’all, remember, those WH servers and cooks work hard and often have long hours. Remember to tell them how much you appreciate them, and slip an extra dollar or two into the tip if you can.

  12. Cathy - September 26, 2022 10:43 am

    Because my husband and I have a blended family, holidays have become very chaotic. 15 years ago, between multiple sets of families spread out over five states, Waffle House became our Christmas Day tradition. There is nothing quite like sitting on bar stools on Christmas Day, servers and cooks in holiday attire, yelling out orders on Christmas morning!

  13. Te - September 26, 2022 10:44 am

    I had no idea food prep at Waffle House was the source of a secret code used by the (now defunct) International spy ring! My sympathies for those who have never experienced Waffle House. (Maybe it’s a Southern thing.) Some of my oldest and fondest memories took place in a Waffle House. I met my ex in one, over a discussion about a cup of coffee. (I needed one and offered to buy his as the line was Sunday morning-long.) I remember steak and eggs at 2 am after partying all night, but that was oh, 60 yrs ago. It’s an iconic part of the Southern landscape. To those who complain about your frequent mentions: honey, you just had to be there. Get over it.

  14. Charlie - September 26, 2022 10:58 am

    Keep the wonderful Waffle House stories coming- scattered, covered, and smothered…

  15. Chris - September 26, 2022 11:01 am

    I am up in Caryville Tn. Guiding an elk hunter. I stopped by WH yesterday for late breakfast. I did this because I like eating there. I hope you never stop writing about WH and the incredible people who work there. Talent and true patience is what it takes to work hard at a job such as this. I also leave a healthy amount as a way of saying how much I appreciate the effort, smile and service. Think I will drop in again today. I hope Tiffany is there but if not the other servers will be friendly and fast.

  16. Penn Wells - September 26, 2022 11:01 am

    Perfection. Now I can smell the ‘pain aux raisins’ toasting and cacophony of the dirty dishes as they clatter into the tub. If you have never been – or if it’s been a while – skip the drive-thru @ Mickey D’s and give it a shot. Per.feck.shun!

  17. Sondra - September 26, 2022 11:09 am

    A day that begins at Waffle House is a good day!!! Thanks Sean!!

  18. c alan martin - September 26, 2022 11:09 am

    Don’t stop on Waffle House. Just don’t!

  19. pianoman365 - September 26, 2022 11:16 am

    For crying out loud. If you guys are so tired of reading about Waffle House, why don’t you just move on yourselves. Personally, I love Waffle House. It’s a great American icon. Keep writing about them my friend. I so very much enjoy it.

  20. Steve McCaleb - September 26, 2022 11:21 am

    Steak and 3 scrambled eggs at 3:42 a.m. on a weekend morning ? Don’t get any better than that.Plus that says nothing of the free entertainment. Watched one of the all-time knockdown knuckledusters in a Waffle House in Tuscaloosa Alabama many years ago. Looked like Saturday night at the Long Branch after a long cattle drive. Deeliteful xcitement! WH and Huddle House are havens of comfort in a cold (and increasingly expensive) world. Wonder if they ever thought about a coffee IV ?

  21. Gigi - September 26, 2022 11:23 am

    My Waffle House knows my name! And I have a wonderful server who recites my order before I sit down…1 egg over light, bacon, hash browns extra crispy, 1 piece of raisin bread, and my coffee is there before I sit down.. Yum.

  22. Ruth - September 26, 2022 11:38 am

    It’s not just about the Waffle House, which I love, it’s about the seemingly ordinary things & people that you appreciate to the fullest. And help us to see what is special too by paying attention to those around us. And being grateful for people who are serving you a lovely meal.

  23. pdjpop - September 26, 2022 11:39 am

    No more Cracker Barrel for me.

  24. Butch Farmer - September 26, 2022 11:49 am

    My Son – he’s the oldest of the two, has W for a middle initial. My Daughter – God Love her, also has an initial: H. Neither has a middle name, just an initial. Some ask what those initials stand for. Nothing, just initials.
    Who would be twisted enough to name a child “Pubert”??

  25. Diana - September 26, 2022 12:02 pm

    I’m used to hearing about WH. I have family members who swear by it. One nephew won’t pass by one without stopping in or plans his routes around WH locations. Sean, keep doing you.

  26. Deborah - September 26, 2022 12:17 pm

    Sean, keep preaching that Waffle House gospel and maybe ‘they’ will see the light — there’s way more to the story than waffles and t-bones. Great writing!

  27. Christine - September 26, 2022 12:19 pm

    Lived in Waipahu many years ago while stationed in Oahu with the Navy.
    Great article, we love WH too.

  28. Regina Vanderneut - September 26, 2022 12:20 pm

    I was reared in Pelham,Alabama in Fungo Holler! Need I say more??? And NO, I am NOT from any of the bootlegger families.
    My point is that we stopped at a Waffle House one time on the way to spend time with my family. It was 4:30 AM. That was NOT a positive experience for my yankee family. I had talked it UP for a long time. The ham was cured…. Not a good way to eat it for yankee males!!!! That one gal was slop cleaning the floors with Clorox water. And the 2 workers were way too tired to be friendly!! Oh and that suited customer was rude and despicable!!
    Of all the times we picked a Waffle House for a meal!!!

  29. Trudy - September 26, 2022 12:24 pm

    John and Carol, bless your hearts.

  30. E.S.S. - September 26, 2022 12:28 pm

    Waffle House has to be the most inclusive, non-judgmental restaurant in existence. At no other eating establishment could you have the CEO of Coca-Cola and a homeless guy sitting at the same counter, both enjoying a phenomenal Texas cheesesteak melt, with no one thinking it’s even the slightest bit odd.

  31. Larry Ratliff - September 26, 2022 12:32 pm

    I love Waffle House, if your from the South its one of the greatest restaurants ever conceived by two military men. Its breakfast 24/7 and then some, how could you not like a staple of southern culture!

  32. Charlotte Speer - September 26, 2022 12:33 pm

    Loved – no, make that LOVED your defense of Waffle House. You are absolutely correct in your assessment of the Waffle House environment. I, too, have watched as the servers and the cook speak in a secret language and, then, bring to me exactly what I ordered. AMAZING. So, for those who do not understand and appreciate, GOOD – more for us. You just keep on writing about the wonders of Waffle house. I’m rat thar witcha!!

  33. Alice Stagg - September 26, 2022 12:38 pm

    Sean I’m with you on the joys of Waffle Houses. Love the rhythm and flow of the communication they use. You mention that your server had sight problems, and as a long time member of a Lions Club here in Columbus, GA, I alerted to that. Lions Clubs main focus is on sight issues, and clubs all over the world offer some type of vision assistance to those in their communities who don’t have the means to pay for an exam and/or glasses. Here is a link to a club in the Hampton area that may be able to help. If not, they can direct you or the young man to a club who can assist.

  34. Tom T. - September 26, 2022 12:40 pm

    “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  35. Britt Tolar - September 26, 2022 1:01 pm

    I’ve lived all over the world. I have eaten some of the best food this world can offer. One of my top selections is a Waffle House Western Omelet (no tomatoes – I love tomatoes cold, not hot) with Hash Browns (Smothered, Covered), buttered wheat toast and a sweet tea to drink. The food is consistently awesome from Durham, North Carolina to Austin, Texas. The staff are real people who speak from experiences. Watching them orchestrate a meal is an Industrial Engineering marvel. I believe that you have helped me solidify my lunch plans for today.
    PS – Give Marigold a head rub for me!

    • Britt Tolar - September 26, 2022 4:14 pm

      You convinced me! I’m currently sitting at the Waffle House bar while Tanya is talking to me and washing dishes. The cooks are working on my omelette! O happy day!

  36. Melody - September 26, 2022 1:02 pm

    I love your down-to-earth writing style.
    And I love WH. Mention that WH is open 24/7/365.
    One New Year’s Day evening after searching in vain, it was THE ONLY restaurant open!! We would have kissed all the staff for gratitude’s sake, if possible. We were welcomed like we were long lost family just coming home!
    And, on a cross-state-lines trip, the food and service were always consistent. And you are spot on with the steaks! When Dad ordered a T-bone, I was very sceptical. . .at first.
    WH made me a believer! Dad only shrugged and said, “I told you so!”

    For those of us who are blessed enough to remember small home- town diners, with personal service, it feels like home cooking used to. Watching Mom or Dad cook from scratch. Some may need to Google what that means.

  37. oldandblessed - September 26, 2022 1:02 pm

    If we woke one morning aand all the Roberts of America were mysteriously gone, what would America be like? I have similar experiences at IHop. God bless the Roberts of the world and their femle counterpart, too.

  38. Louis - September 26, 2022 1:07 pm

    Great follow up!!

  39. Cynthia Garner - September 26, 2022 1:13 pm

    My family would go to WH and sit at the counter just so that we could watch the “show” as the servers and cook worked together. It’s precision, almost in dance form. By the way, order the pecan waffles with extra pecans. (Can the Lions Club get some glasses for Robert? Or should we donate?)

  40. Jeffrey Morrow - September 26, 2022 1:15 pm

    I kind feel sorry for you guy that don’t have a Waffle House to go to. It’s great place to eat.

  41. Gloria - September 26, 2022 1:15 pm

    Sean, I don’t care if you write about a pile of dirt, you write what you want to write!!!! I just love reading it!!
    Thank you!!❤️
    Gloria from Loris, SC

  42. Dennis Self - September 26, 2022 1:19 pm

    And, Sean: Don’t forget the Waffle House Index. As Wikipedia defines it, the “Waffle House Index is an informal metric named after the Waffle House restaurant chain to determine the effect of a storm and the likely scale of assistance required for disaster recovery.” I think FEMA uses it. I don’t eat there very often, but when I do I’m never disappointed, and they contribute in more than one way in disaster recovery.
    Have a great day!
    Dennis Self

  43. Ellouise - September 26, 2022 1:23 pm

    Mean writer is just jealous because they don’t have a Waffle House in Hoboken!

  44. Toots Rogers - September 26, 2022 1:28 pm

    If readers don’t like your writing…they need to just move on! They obviously never heard the rule, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” Keep up the good PR for Waffle House.

  45. sandy tilley - September 26, 2022 1:37 pm

    So love your stories, and I love Waffle House! I could write a sonnet to their hash browns 🙂

  46. Jax - September 26, 2022 1:37 pm

    Loved this piece. Thank you!

  47. Patricia Gibson - September 26, 2022 1:41 pm

    People have no idea what it takes to work in a restaurant! Worked in a McDonald’s for a short time. Everything has a specific place The pickle, the catsup. It is unreal. Love Waffle House. Message to critics: No one is forcing you to read Sean’s column. Have a great day❤️

  48. Henry Puckett - September 26, 2022 1:42 pm

    You make my heart happy.

  49. David Britnell - September 26, 2022 1:43 pm

    Amen brother!!

  50. Sonny - September 26, 2022 1:52 pm


  51. greglumpkin - September 26, 2022 1:56 pm

    My wife and I were on a road trip vacation once. We made a point to avoid highways and only travel back roads. It was great. On our way home, we stopped at a Waffle House somewhere in Georgia. We’d never been to one before because they weren’t as common in our area as they are now. We did NOT have a good experience. We called it “Awful House” for the longest time afterwards. Once they started building them in our area, we decided to give Waffle House another go. We loved it, and have been going back ever since. We’ve met some of the nicest people there. The food has always been delicious, and the service is excellent. We’re glad we gave it a second chance.

  52. Bill DeVore - September 26, 2022 1:59 pm

    Re the two initial Waffle House comments: if not for complaining, some folks wouldn’t have a life.

  53. Mamacita - September 26, 2022 2:07 pm

    We don’t have a Waffle House here in the “up nort” either. But Sean, you could describe a mud puddle with fascination. Let the naysayers have their naysay. Speak to the rest of us!

  54. Debbie - September 26, 2022 2:11 pm

    Sean, your writing style reminds me of Ernest Hemingway’s style. Short, blunt, to the point sentences with no unnecessary words. Love reading it. 🤗

  55. kristy dunnigan - September 26, 2022 2:19 pm


  56. whartnabybb - September 26, 2022 2:23 pm

    I love this. Please keep writing about Waffle House.

  57. Edward Willis - September 26, 2022 2:33 pm

    If you don’t wanna read about WH, he can kiss our grease!

  58. Mary - September 26, 2022 2:40 pm

    Thank you, Sean!! Waffle House is truly as you describe, a national blessing!

  59. Jeanne Hays - September 26, 2022 2:41 pm

    Love it!! You are a NOTICER, extraordinaire! Andy Andrews book! I am one too! Name it! Claim it! I enthusiastically enjoy your writing!!

  60. Debra - September 26, 2022 2:55 pm

    I am banking lawyer now, but made my way through undergrad (in large part) by Waffle House 3rd shift tips!! I still have a soft spot for WH!

  61. Angela Hobby - September 26, 2022 3:05 pm

    My husband and I took our 13 year old grandsons (they are cousins and also best buds) to a UGA football game a few weeks ago to celebrate their birthdays. On the way home we stopped at Waffle House for dinner. The place was busy but not too crowded. There was one server, a young African American girl, and one cook, an old white man, who seemed to have the same visual problems as Robert in your story. They were amazing together! Neither got upset or flustered; they just went about their business calmly and efficiently. We asked for an omelette that used to be on their menu but is not on the new menus, and they fixed it right up. All the food was delicious! We agree with you that Waffle House is a great place to eat!

  62. Cynthia Russell - September 26, 2022 3:11 pm

    Sean, you just have to overlook all those who have never ever ate at Waffle house… maybe it’s a SOUTHEREN THING.. all I can say when they complain is “Bless Their Heart, & more for me!” Keep writing & I’ll Keep reading!! TY

  63. Tracy Sackellares - September 26, 2022 3:12 pm

    Anyone giving negative comments about Waffle House, please stay in the land barren of WH. We don’t need your kind here.

  64. PAT DEACON - September 26, 2022 3:25 pm

    This Yankee married a southerner and we have 2 GRITS -Girls Raised In The South. When the Navy transferred Daughter #1from San Diego, CA to Kings Bay, Ga her first comment to me was – “Mom, now I can go to Waffle House again!”

  65. Sandra Brooks-Mathers - September 26, 2022 3:27 pm

    Sean, I love you for all the love you share in your columns, often with the so-called “least of these.” I see your Christ light. You inspire and move me with your messages, and you make me laugh often. Thank you so so much from a former child of Birmingham who now lives in Chapel Hill, NC, Sandra

  66. LIN ARNOLD - September 26, 2022 3:29 pm

    In the words of my amazing Mom, “If you cain’t say nothin’ nice, then don’t say nothin’ atall!”
    Every time I walk into a WH, I feel like I’m home.
    A couple weeks ago, my husband & I went on a cruise. When we got back to JAX, we got off the ship, waited in line to clear customs, put our luggage in my car …… and headed for a Waffle House. It was some place in Bodunk, South Georgia … just over the Georgia/Florida state line … off I-75.
    As much as we enjoyed our cruise, sitting there at that counter, we felt back home again.
    So, I’m right there with you about Waffle House. “It ain’t much but it’s home!”

  67. Richard Owen - September 26, 2022 3:45 pm

    As we used to say back in the day, John from Hoboken, you can go p*$$ up a rope! New Jersey is not WORTHY of Waffle House gracing that state. Y’all might just a step above Delaware which has to claim Sleepy Joe as a resident.
    And, Sean, my son used to manage the Hampton Waffle House. He started out parttime at 16 yo as a dishwasher while finishing high school and, in a short while, was working the grill. He went on to work parttime through college and has been with Waffle House ever since. When he started as a cook, the marker system did not exist. He had to remember all the orders in his head.
    Also you write about some of the most ordinary interesting people that you meet there (“salt of the earth” is the cliche that comes to mind). It is always a pleasure to read who you get talking with.

  68. Susan - September 26, 2022 3:51 pm

    What? Waffle House, THE most dependable restaurant for car travel across the South. No place better for breakfast all day, or steak or whatever. In Newnan, Ga our friends have a standing reservation for Valentine’s Day every year. That particular Waffle House adds white table cloths, flowers and a special menu for the special day. It’s booked solid every year. Dang, some people just don’t get the South. And your waiter is like so many at every single one of them. Kind beyond belief and welcoming. Love Waffle House

  69. Tom Giddens - September 26, 2022 3:54 pm

    Don’t forget – a tiny piece of cheese on the jelly pack means scrambled with cheese. I love me some WH.

  70. chip plyler - September 26, 2022 4:11 pm

    Taco Bell, gee makes me wonder if they still take all of the grease that comes out of the beef and mix it with the beans to make it smooth like they used to back in the good old days… That sure cut down on having to get rid of grease and it sure made that food run through you 😉

  71. Paula Kelley - September 26, 2022 4:13 pm

    I love Waffle House…as you know, their servers are awesome and detail oriented. If you ordered a possum steak,rare, with honey mustard, they would be out the door in a heartbeat. I feel bad for your guy though, with vision problems. Have to give him credit, though….sounds like he lets nothing stop him in his quest to serve up the best and everyone needs to eat a little grease before they die!

  72. James Stephens - September 26, 2022 4:18 pm

    Amen! Waffle House is our go to, especially for breakfast. We’ve got four. The one on 45 south, in Meridian Mississippi, is our favorite!

  73. SLP - September 26, 2022 4:36 pm

    How dare someone throw Shade on Waffle House if they have never been to One 😨
    I give Waffle House ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  74. Jeanne Tew - September 26, 2022 4:52 pm

    When Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola, FL, Waffle House stayed open, with managers coming in from who knows where to take orders and cook so locals could tend to damage–and so locals like us with no power in our downown condo could eat something not pre-packaged! They are iconic! Our go to on the road for consistency and service like nobody else! Never been to a Waffle House; well, bless their hearts.

  75. Fred W Lennon - September 26, 2022 5:01 pm

    I personally love the cheesesteak omelet. I sent this column to a non-Sean reader (there are still a few) who used have WH as a customer. He replied:

    “Thank you for that. He is absolutely correct. I order the Waffle House steak often. It is the only place where you can get a ‘real, original’ steak anymore. Instead of dense, pressed meat, no tasty fat, steaks, WH steaks are thin, marbled, tender and flavorful, just like in the old days. My cousin and his wife used to go to WH for steak every Friday night. When he won $580,000 in the Fantasy 5 lotto some years back, I called to congratulate him and I asked if this new windfall had changed his life any. He explained that it had, and proceeded to tell me that they used to order the $5 steak at WH every Friday night, but since the big win, they have been ordering the $8 steak. What a guy!”

  76. Beryl - September 26, 2022 5:06 pm

    Haters be hatin’. We are ALWAYS AT CHOICE. Sean’s choice is to write about what Waffle House means to him. This story is rich with the nuances that make this Waffle House of particular interest. His server, Robert, is the key ingredient which makes this story particularly juicy. Each of us makes up the fabric which we call our “world”. Some people’s world is very small and they cannot see all the bedazzlements that can make living so rich that we want to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear more. May you find joy in the small, beautiful subtleties of life. May you choose to be kind. May you choose to be happy. Let your light shine. When you do, you just may illuminate a dark corner for someone who thought all was lost. Shine on!

  77. jeanhogan1248 - September 26, 2022 5:47 pm

    What a wonderful account of how good we humans can be, we hear so little of the good that’s being done; I hope for some soul who can help Robert get what he needs so he can see better.

  78. Stacey Wallace - September 26, 2022 6:01 pm

    Robert, you, and Waffle House rock. Also, ignore the Yankee from New Jersey. He will never get it. Love to you, Jamie, and Marigold.

  79. Sally Speaker - September 26, 2022 6:05 pm

    Grease and waffles, my foot. LOL!!🤣 Best line ever!

  80. Juanita - September 26, 2022 6:12 pm

    Thank you for telling the story – There is no Waffle House anywhere near where I live, but now I am craving not only waffles, but the atmosphere of just such a restaurant.

  81. mccutchen52 - September 26, 2022 6:19 pm

    I always said the best and worst thing that ever happened to me was when Waffle House opened less than a minute from my house. We also have most of the major fast food franchises but my favorite is, and always be, Waffle House. You know the food is fresh because when you walk in you can smell and see the orders cooking. For people who are always down on Waffle House they have never experience the beauty of a fresh waffle going from the iron to your plate. Don’t forget the hot coffee.

  82. c lyn burnette - September 26, 2022 6:32 pm

    We used to say, when we were very frustrated at work, we were practicing ‘mornin, mornin, welcome to Waffle House’ for our next career. We LOVE Waffle House!

  83. Linda Moon - September 26, 2022 7:01 pm

    My first thought at reading the title of this post was why should anyone need to defend Waffle House? So, it was John and Carol who griped about Waffle House. Well, John and Carol, just click on ‘delete’ at the title next time before reading further. A lot of us like Waffle House and its stories that are really about the people there. Jane Darwell said that very well, and so does Sean Dietrich.

  84. Joyce Gingrich - September 26, 2022 7:41 pm

    One of my favorite memories is one June many years ago when my husband and I took the red-eye from Phoenix to Florida. We arrived after midnight, picked up a rental car, and headed south toward our final destination. Of course we were hungry, and the only open place at 2:00 am…a Waffle House! As always, bright and cheery…and of course, a few customers. Same experience…great food, a friendly server, and even a fascinating conversation with the cook, who when there was a lull, came out of the kitchen, leaned on the counter, and chatted with us! Of course Waffle House is a great place to eat!! Thanks Sean!

  85. Philip Riggins - September 26, 2022 8:13 pm

    There maybe a reason Waffle House isnt northbof the Mason / Dixon line…. Go figure!

  86. vickilclem - September 26, 2022 8:24 pm

    I’m so sorry you get letters like that, but I love how you turn them into great stories. I have never once thought that you write too much about Waffle House. I think your stories have a lot of variety, and I love the depth of emotion, whether happy or sad, on topics that encompass important issues, the human spirit, and true Americana. Keep up the good work, and don’t let the haters get you down. I can’t believe they have the gall to tell you what you should or shouldn’t write about, as if they are paying your salary. Also, give Marigold a belly rub for me.

  87. Tom McCoppin - September 26, 2022 8:41 pm

    Hi Sean. This past weekend had to travel to my old home town in SE Texas to bury my cousin. He was a Methodist preacher and a great guy. He married my wife and I 48 years ago. Saturday morning I got up early for a walk. Lo and behold, I spotted a Waffle House. Even though my motel had a free breakfast, I trotted on over to see what all the fuss was about (believe it or not, I had never been to a Waffle House!). I found old men drinking coffee and solving the worlds problems. I found servers who knew most customers by name, were supernaturally upbeat, and called me “Hun”. I enjoyed a great breakfast before returning to my motel and dressing for the funeral later that morning. The next day I was up again early, and meandered back to the Waffle House. I needed cheering up. I had a couple of $50 bills that were burning a whole in my pocket. I used one to tip my waitress. The look on her face was priceless. I used the other to buy a young mother and her two boys their breakfast, just before I left the place. I wanted to do it anonymously, but their server must have ratted me out. As I began my walk to my motel, the oldest of her boys chased me down and yelled “Thank You Sir!”. His face was beaming and his smile was a work of art. Helping make his day made my day. Thank you Waffle House. I shall return!

  88. Patricia Taylor - September 26, 2022 8:48 pm

    I love Waffle House! When traveling it was always our place to stop and eat. To all the Naysayers…don’t knock it until you have tried it!

  89. Martha Black - September 26, 2022 9:13 pm

    Dear complainer, we DON’T like or desire your critique. If you dont like Waffle House, that’s your right. If you dont like to read or hear about them, that’s your right.
    A lot of us do likec& frequent them and we do not have to justify our choice of cuisine.
    Feel free to eat & read elsewhere, we’ll bear up under the burden of it all………
    Now, excuse me while I enjoy my double order of hashbrowns, Yum!

  90. Karen - September 26, 2022 9:21 pm

    I enjoy Waffle House. It’s homey and personal. The food is tasty, and the employees are friendly. Sean, you sound like you could work in one of these iconic restaurants.

  91. Carol G Brown - September 26, 2022 10:48 pm

    I am with you 100% on how wonderful Waffle House is! I have loved going there as long as they have been in business! I will read with glee all of your columns….they are the dessert for my day….and I especially like the Waffle House columns! What a wonderful day when a friend sent me one of your columns in an email. I have been one of your biggest fans ever since and look forward to receiving my Sean Dietrich daily down home magic email each day!
    The fact that you chose Marigold as your rescue speaks volumes about who you are as a person! I hope you will continue to write about her in the future. I would love to meet her one day and I would love to meet her master!

  92. Kathy - September 27, 2022 12:46 am

    I love Waffle House. Enough said.

  93. Susan Kennedy - September 27, 2022 1:04 am

    I don’t understand people who feel the need to email you when your writing doesn’t meet their “standards”. I mean, just unsubscribe or whatever but why do they think they have to critique you? I just don’t get it. Personally I love what you write. I love you and Jamie, your fur babies AND Waffle House! 😉❤️

  94. John Hall - September 27, 2022 1:09 am

    Today people like to criticize rather than walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. If one does not know, he should learn.

  95. James Clark - September 27, 2022 1:12 am

    Thank you! I love Waffle House. It’s one of the very few places that I can have the same meal that I enjoyed as a kid. And no matter if you are traveling or in your home town when you see that yellow sign you know the service will be friendly and the food good. Waffle House is also one of the very few restaurants open every hour of every day of the year. I will happily read about Waffle House experiences anytime. Thank you again.

  96. Deborah Blount - September 27, 2022 1:28 am


  97. PEGGY ALEXANDER - September 27, 2022 2:29 am

    Waffle House fixed me some PANCAKES one time because I wanted them instead of waffles. Can you believe that? It is true

  98. Slimpicker - September 27, 2022 3:24 am

    If there had been a Waffle House during the years of Jesus, I’ll bet that’s where the last supper would have been held. Amen!

    • Ben - October 11, 2022 6:54 pm


  99. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - September 27, 2022 6:21 am

    We just ate at our Waffle House last Sunday for our supper! So good!

  100. James Harrison Brannon - September 27, 2022 9:35 am

    Not to mention servers make $2.50 hr at Waffle House Sean! Keep on telling their stories!

  101. Mim - September 27, 2022 1:16 pm

    I love the memories made in Waffle House with my Dad. Early airport mornings, late night fishing trips, lazy Sunday noon meals…a booth in Waffle House fit in perfectly. Coffee in a hearty stoneware mug for my Dad and a friendly waiter to keep it topped up.

  102. John - September 27, 2022 5:53 pm

    I worked there through High School and Collage. It was a great experience and a good job. I was there before the magic system we just had to remember them. It really developed my short term recall memory. I still eat there 25 years later 🙂

  103. Robert Chiles - September 28, 2022 7:43 pm

    Well, it’s been 16 years ago now but during my daughter’s senior high school year, we went to Waffle House every Thursday for breakfast. I always got hash browns with cheese and double mushrooms, but mostly I got to know and love my daughter a lot more deeply.

  104. Thomas S Farmer - September 29, 2022 12:53 am

    Indeed my friend, when they are in the zone, it is a work of art.

  105. Ben - October 11, 2022 6:52 pm

    Southern trucker here… have so eloquently elucidated my feeling about my favorite restaurant


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