Ah, Waffle House. The glorious, greasy chain that has been serving brunch, hangover food and syrupy late night snacks for decades. The popular fast food conglomerate has been dishing out hashbrowns (eight different ways) and waffles to happy customers since 1955 and somehow became a cultural icon in the process.
Joe Rogers and Tom Forkner had no idea what they would create one day when they started out as neighbors in Avondale Estates, Georgia with an affinity for breakfast food. After decided their town needed a restaurant that's open 24/7, the two men have grown Waffle House Inc. into over 1,500 restaurants. From Florida and Alabama to South Carolina and Virginia, the southern-born chain has spread all over the United States. In 25 different states and counting.
Here are some things you might have not known about this glorious American treasure.
1. They hosted the World Waffle-Eating Championships
Waffle House hosted in 2006 in Atlanta where Joey Chestnut broke a world record eating 18.5 waffles in under 12 minutes. He also won a prize of $7,500. He's a professional competitive eater (who knew that was a thing?) so don't try that at home.
2. They support their communities
The Waffle House Foundation is focused on supporting civic causes such as health and human service organizations, youth and educational programs and more. They try to have a positive impact and support people who really need the donation which is pretty cool.
3. They have a test kitchen
If you ever stop in a Waffle House and find something off the menu like the blueberry biscuits, go provide feedback on their website and maybe it could get added to the actual menu.
4. Waffle Records is their own music label
You read that right. Songs including "There Are Raisins in My Toast", "Waffle Do Wop," and "Last Night I Saw Elvis at the Waffle House" are just a few of the songs they have created on their label since the '80s. And you can hear them from the jukebox at your neighborhood Waffle House. Granted you'll need to look closely because not every location offers all of these custom songs.
"If anyone wants to play it, that's great, but it's all about inside the restaurant. So every time it plays one time, that's just one more time that we're extending the [Waffle House] experience."
5. FEMA uses the restaurants during a hurricane
No really. The Waffle House Index is what FEMA uses to determine the severity of a hurricane. Using the color scheme of a spotlight, green means everything is business as usual, yellow means Waffle House is offering a limited menu and red means the restaurant is closed. Considering Waffle House never closes, red seems to be a very bad sign.
6. They host candlelit dinners on Valentine's Day
If you're looking for a creative and cost-effective date on Valentines Day, maybe consider Waffle House? Hit up their website for a list of locations offering candlelit "romantic" dinners, fancy tablecloths and flowers included. They are based on reservations so make sure to look out for when the 2020 locations are posted! There are limited locations offering this fun little experience in each state.
7. Menu items are named after real Waffle House employees
There's a real Bert who created Bert's Chili and he has worked with Waffle House for over 30 years. He perfected his chili recipe in the '80s and its been on the menu ever since. Similarly, with Alice's Iced Tea, Alice worked with the company's tea vendor to create the perfect iced tea with just the right amount of sugar per serving.
8. It's open every. single. day.
Focused on their motto, "Good food fast", you can stop into your local Waffle House on Christmas, Thanksgiving, or the middle of the night and a waffle will always be waiting. 24/7 365 days a year is not an exaggeration.
9. The original Waffle House location now serves as the official Waffle House Museum
The original Waffle House in Avondale Estates now serves as the official Waffle House Museum with tours by appointment only. You get to take a trip down memory lane and see Waffle House memorabilia from over the years. The restaurant had actually shut down and become a Chinese restaurant and then a tire store, but was repurchased by Waffle House in 2008 in order to create the museum.
Maybe the best part? It has the full selection of all of the Waffle Records songs!
10. They serve a crazy amount of bacon
According to their website, if you laid out all of the Smithfield Bacon that is served annually, you could wrap it around the equator. We're talking over 25,000 miles of bacon.
11. They also serve a crazy amount of food per minute
When they say "Good Food Fast," they aren't kidding. Below are just a few popular menu items and how many are served per minute:
Cups of Coffee: 127