The Toddle House

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roy51
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2004/08/09 14:32:14 (permalink)

The Toddle House

I was wondering if anyone remembers The Toddle House diners. They had them in Texas, but I don't know where else. I remember eating waffles there when I was a young boy. They had a large selection to choose from, and at least 6 different kinds of syrup on your table or booth.
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    Michael Stern
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/08/09 14:53:41 (permalink)
    I remember the great hash browns they had.
    #2
    hermitt4d
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/08/09 17:45:55 (permalink)
    There have been lots of comments on Toddle House here, roy51. Try the search feature and pull some up. The chain was based in Lexington, KY, I think and was very widespread.

    I ate at the Toddle Houses on 19 and 29th streets in Austin regularly in the 60s, driven there by the wretched food service at UT. One of our posters worked at the Toddle House on 19th, about 10 years before I got to town, I think.

    I remember the waffles, the MasterBurgers, the hash browns, the bacon wrapped filet, which was probably all of about 3 oz. and cost $1.95 and filled me up in those days (with a side of hash browns). It was awesome food compared to the cafeterias at UT!

    I also remember the fascination of sitting at the counter and watching the cooks and I picked which location to eat at by looking inside to see who was on duty. There was and old woman and old man who worked the late shifts. Both a little stoop shouldered, they had each probably been slinging hash for decades and they were artists. They never wrote down an order until they rang you up at the register and I bet they could have served every stool and booth in the place at the same time and never mixed up an order or done anything worse than burn the toast, which the toasters nearly always did.

    I tipped lavishly, given my circumstances -- .25 to .35 at least! I learned a real appreciation of folks in the service industry from going there.
    #3
    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/08/10 17:28:34 (permalink)
    As I recall, the Toddle house was somewhat similar to the Waffle House? I have been there but it was EONS ago. I recall I enjoyed it.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/08/10 18:23:22 (permalink)
    The Toddle House, which began as Tennessee-based Hull Dobbs, was great. In addition to their great burgers, they had good steaks. And their hash browns were the best I ever had -- I'd always order them with onions. My favorite Toddle House was on Chapel Street in New Haven, Conneccticut, just west of Howe Street and.

    I was thrilled when I was stationed in Austin to discover a Toddle House there. And, a couple of years later I got a job as a grill cook at the Toddle House near Campus at the end of Guadaloupe.
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    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/08/10 20:03:20 (permalink)
    Michael: I recall the place your were discussing at the Guadaulope location. I started a pharmaceutical business there and it was close.

    I really enjoyed Austin.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #6
    Ralph Isbill
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/08/10 21:30:31 (permalink)
    As a sailor stationed on board the Uss Mississippi home ported in Norfolk in the late 40's and early 50's I would stop at the Toddle House in Norfolk at the end of every liberty. On board our ship we were blessed with eatting powdered eggs, for breakfast. My deal was eggs sunnyside up, sometimes 4ea and bacon. They cooked them in a small frying pan in butter then turning them out on the griddle then on your plate. The Toddle house saved me from starving for eggs for 4 years. When I settled in Oklahoma City, there was a little Toddle House on N. Walker about 12 street. There I discovered chocolate ice box pie!!that was great. I miss the Toddle House
    #7
    fcbaldwin
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/08/11 08:48:02 (permalink)
    I loved the Toddle House. And I agree about the hash browns being the best. They are the standard by which all other hash browns should be judged.

    Frank
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    Milt
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/08/11 09:53:43 (permalink)
    My mother was a great Toddle House fan. As we traveled around the country on vacation during the 1950s, she would keep her eye out for Toddle House for breakfast. We ate in many over the years. If she saw one, that was where we had breakfast - except in Albuquerque. She never felt the Albuquerque location (near Nob Hill) was up to standards. I remember sitting at the counter, but I remember nothing about the food or what I might have ordered.
    post edited by Milt - 2009/12/25 23:12:39
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    Farfromhome
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/09/26 14:32:42 (permalink)
    I've been to a Toddle House once back when I lived in Texas and anytime I'm running low on some kind of household staple my kids bring up the visit. I think it was getting ready to go out of business because everything we tried to order, they were out of. My youngest daughter tried ordering eggs, hashbrowns and bacon and they were out of eggs and hashbrowns. So she tried ordering a club sandwich and they were out of lettuce and turkey so she ended up with a bacon tomato sandwich. I tried ordering a cheeseburger with mayo, lettuce, onion and tomato and I ended up with a hamburger with tomato. I can't remember what the other 2 kids ordered, just that what they ended up with was different from what they wanted. They were out of all fountain drinks, milk etc too. We ended up with coke in a can with a glass of ice. If we'd had a lick of common sense we would have left after being told they were out of just about everything however we don't and it sort of became an adventure to see just what we could come up with.
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    Barney
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/09/27 11:33:58 (permalink)
    There are several Toddle House buildings (with other businesses in them) around my area. I used to love their scrambled eggs, so light, & fluffy! Have missed them for years now, esp. their great hash browns! Always wondered what happened to them? Meanwhile, while in NC recently, asked a local for recommenation as to a good mom&pop country ham place and he steered me to a place that was similar to the Toddle House. It was called the Huddle House, I believe. It was attached to a filling station so I was a little doubtful but found it was good. Country ham was thin but tasty (not as salty as tradition country ham). I wish we had that chain up here in VA!
    #11
    emsmom
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/09/27 12:06:13 (permalink)
    I remember that we had a Dobbs House here in town. It was similar to Waffle House. Was this part on The Toddle House chain
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    The Toddle House, which began as Tennessee-based Hull Dobbs, was great. In addition to their great burgers, they had good steaks. And their hash browns were the best I ever had -- I'd always order them with onions. My favorite Toddle House was on Chapel Street in New Haven, Conneccticut, just west of Howe Street and.

    I was thrilled when I was stationed in Austin to discover a Toddle House there. And, a couple of years later I got a job as a grill cook at the Toddle House near Campus at the end of Guadaloupe.
    #12
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/09/27 12:33:32 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by emsmom

    I remember that we had a Dobbs House here in town. It was similar to Waffle House. Was this part on The Toddle House chain?
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    The Toddle House, which began as Tennessee-based Hull Dobbs, was great. In addition to their great burgers, they had good steaks. And their hash browns were the best I ever had -- I'd always order them with onions. My favorite Toddle House was on Chapel Street in New Haven, Conneccticut, just west of Howe Street and.

    I was thrilled when I was stationed in Austin to discover a Toddle House there. And, a couple of years later I got a job as a grill cook at the Toddle House near Campus at the end of Guadaloupe.


    I don't recall ever seeing a Dobbs House other than those operated as airport terminal restaurants around the country.
    #13
    garykg6
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/09/27 13:18:34 (permalink)
    we had a 'tottle house'here in Tampa(up until recently)....not a bad place at all,clean,friendly.....good burgers/fries and excellent breakfasts
    #14
    ornat
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    RE: The Toddle House 2004/10/09 23:00:49 (permalink)
    I worked as a dishwasher for the Toddle House in San Antonio, Texas when I was Sophmore in High School (1952). It was a great place to work. I remember the home fries. As I remember they used to sprinkle paprika on them. Still haven't found any as good. They used to give us one meal a day when we worked. Could order anything on the meny except Filet Mignon. Had steak evey day I worked. Great memories.
    Orson Ratbhurn, Jr. Orange, Mass.
    #15
    Geoff
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/21 22:35:12 (permalink)
    During the late 1960's and early 70's the Albuquerque Toddle House was located on the south side of Central Avenue, 1/2 block east of Hermosa Street and a couple blocks from the Nob Hill shopping center at Central and Girard. It was, of course, tiny, with no more than 6 stools and no booths. The jukebox was decent.

    Because it was open 24 hours and as we lived practically behind the place, I ended up there many late nights and early mornings, usually for coffee and eggs. To be honest, I do not remember much distinguishing about the food.

    The sign on the wall advertising the "steak and eggs" special always intrigued me (steak for breakfast!) until I finally ordered it and discovered that it was really "burger and eggs". It was not bad and certainly not too costly.

    What I DO remember (and what was most noteworthy to my friends and I) was the sideshow freakishness of the counter men and women who worked there. Every last employee(there was only one working at any given time)had some bizarre distinguishing feature: an alarming tattoo, enormous girth, advanced hirsutism, a vague air of criminality... Some, I remember, were ex-cons, not that long out of the Joint. I guess it was a fairly easy (and probably not very rewarding) place to get employment, and east Central Ave was peppered with cheap motels for transients and other people living close the outer margins.
    One of the countermen would regularly read pornographic magazines at the counter, oblivious to the customers. One poor woman, who must have weighed in excess of 350 lbs worked many nights, and had only inches of clearance in her tiny workplace behind the counter. The saddest was a young guy whose right bicep tattoo read "Born Dead". The story behind the tattoo - he told it willingly -was too depressing to repeat here.

    Despite the tiny size, I do not remember that there was ever more than one other customer when I was in there. Late on a rainy night, as I recovered from an evening of drinking at Okie's with my coffee and eggs, Dylan's "Desolation Row" seemed the appropriate theme song there. Years later, when I first heard a Tom Waits song, I knew that he was singing about the Albuquerque Toddle House.
    #16
    ScreenBear
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/22 00:28:55 (permalink)
    Geoff,
    Awfully nice piece of writing. The vague criminality thing was great.

    As a young man, I frequented the Toddle House in Elizabeth, N.J. It was right across the street from my favorite tavern...the one I got thrown out of from time to time, necessary or not. I can't top your description of the sideshow, but it was there, too.

    One short order cook/counterman maintained that he was a Shakespearean scholar. Never bothered reading anything else. Why would you if you believed Willy was the best writer there ever lived?

    He claimed to have written several unpublished books on Shakespeare. It wasn't sad that he had never published any of them. More curious, no one but he had ever laid eyes on these manuscripts. He never asked me about myself, or how my work was going.

    The only other employee I really remember was a woman of relatively recent European descent, pretty in a slightly loony sort of way, an air of danger and fringe life complications about her. She gave the distinct impression she hadn't had a very easy time of it, and surely never would.

    Insofar as food is concerned, like you report, the hours were convenient...a sort of Nighthawk thing, but without the sanitizing romance the Hopper painting imparts....or something like that. However, I do remember the hash browns were pretty good.
    The Bear
    #17
    QFan
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/22 14:56:46 (permalink)
    Let me also join the cheering section for Toddle House hash browns. They were open 24/7 and yes their design was very similar in size and layout to Waffle House. In college (since we didn't have a WC nearby) the TH was where we went for late night recovery from too much partying. The hash browns were distinctive in that they were individually diced potato chunks (instead of a julienne style like WH) and they were prepared to order for you in a skillet with oil, lots of pepper and I think paparika. Mmmmm Mmmmm, I sure am hungry. Thanks for the memory!

    QFan
    Bonita Springs, FL
    #18
    roossy90
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/22 19:15:03 (permalink)
    I remember them.. There used to be one across from Miami Intl Airport, I do believe in the 60's or early 70's.. Or very close to it.....
    To me, they were just another version of Waffle House..
    #19
    Sundancer7
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/22 19:36:08 (permalink)
    I neer attended a Toddle house but I goggled them and it seems that one of their beginning chefs and perhaps a investor started the Waffle House.

    I understand their chocolate pie and fries were wonderful.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/22 22:13:18 (permalink)
    There are a couple of things concerning posts about Toddle House with which I must take issue. First, steak and eggs at a Toddle House did not mean any sort of ground meat. A steak, with steak and eggs, was a steak. Second, although I've been eating at Waffle House restaurants all over the south and midwest for more than 30 years I've never seen one that in any way, shape, or form resembled a Toddle House.
    #21
    QFan
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/24 14:06:49 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    There are a couple of things concerning posts about Toddle House with which I must take issue. First, steak and eggs at a Toddle House did not mean any sort of ground meat. A steak, with steak and eggs, was a steak. Second, although I've been eating at Waffle House restaurants all over the south and midwest for more than 30 years I've never seen one that in any way, shape, or form resembled a Toddle House.


    Similar diner-type layout (open griddle, small counter w/ stools, few if any tables/booths). Yes, you're right they certainly didn't look anything alike.

    QFan
    Bonita Springs, FL
    #22
    Rick F.
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/24 15:08:41 (permalink)
    There was at least one in the DC area in 1960.
    #23
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/24 17:11:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by QFan

    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    There are a couple of things concerning posts about Toddle House with which I must take issue. First, steak and eggs at a Toddle House did not mean any sort of ground meat. A steak, with steak and eggs, was a steak. Second, although I've been eating at Waffle House restaurants all over the south and midwest for more than 30 years I've never seen one that in any way, shape, or form resembled a Toddle House.


    Similar diner-type layout (open griddle, small counter w/ stools, few if any tables/booths). Yes, you're right they certainly didn't look anything alike.

    QFan
    Bonita Springs, FL

    You're right about the layout. All the ones I ever ate in had a couple of booths at either end of the counter and at least two across from the counter along the front wall on either side of the door. But I know there were other layouts. There is a small restaurant in Columbus that was a Toddle house before I ever moved here, and, although it still has the grill and stovetop fromn when it ws a Toddle House everything else is different. At any rate, this place is a walk-in with a couple of tables by the front door, a ten-stool counter running from front to rear, and some small tables along the wall opposite the counter.
    #24
    ScreenBear
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/24 17:28:11 (permalink)
    The Toddle House I speak of above was very similar to the one Geoff describes. Only about 6 stools at the counter, no booths or tables. I don't remember if there were stools at a window counter, though I doubt it. It was really small. You were right on top of the counter person/cook.

    By the way, is there a Toddle House still in operation anywhere; is there an ownership tie-in to Waffle House; and are there any Toddle Houses still intact, but not functioning as such? The hash browns were exemplary.
    The Bear
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/24 17:44:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ScreenBear

    The Toddle House I speak of above was very similar to the one Geoff describes. Only about 6 stools at the counter, no booths or tables. I don't remember if there were stools at a window counter, though I doubt it. It was really small. You were right on top of the counter person/cook.

    By the way, is there a Toddle House still in operation anywhere; is there an ownership tie-in to Waffle House; and are there any Toddle Houses still intact, but not functioning as such? The hash browns were exemplary.
    The Bear


    I don't know if there are any Toddle house restaurants still operating. If there are it is unlikely that they'd be connected with the now-defunct Toddle House company that took over Hull Dobbs. As to a tie in with Waffle House, the answer is no. One of the two founders of Waffle House, Joe Rogers, was an executive with Toddle House, but the two firms were never connected in any other way.
    #26
    Wildcat1616
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/29 21:54:22 (permalink)
    I think Toddle House is altogether gone, save for some references on Waffle House menus. I believe TH was bought lock, stock and hash brown and pretty much shut down. We had several here in Evanston, IL when I was in college at Northwestern University in the 60s... but don't remember when they shut down.

    I was on a trip through the southwest US recently and, as I said, found references to TH at several WHs. But... nobody seemed to remember TH, even at those places.
    #27
    ScreenBear
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/29 22:08:20 (permalink)
    Wildcat,
    Don't want to belabor it, but what sort of references to Toddle House? I don't know why, but aside from what I noted in my post here, I'd really like to know more about Toddle House.

    Also, there were several Toddle Houses in the Evanston area? I knew the one in Elizabeth, NJ; and then was surprised while driving through Nebraska in my 20s that there was one in Omaha. Aside from White Castles, the concept of a chain really hadn't taken hold in my psyche.
    The Bear
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/29 23:23:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Wildcat1616

    I think Toddle House is altogether gone, save for some references on Waffle House menus. I believe TH was bought lock, stock and hash brown and pretty much shut down. We had several here in Evanston, IL when I was in college at Northwestern University in the 60s... but don't remember when they shut down.

    I was on a trip through the southwest US recently and, as I said, found references to TH at several WHs. But... nobody seemed to remember TH, even at those places.

    I noticed the references to the Toddle House on the new menus at Waffle house, and I don't understand them. For instance, I saw a reference to Toddle House hash browns, when in fact there is not the slightest resemblance to Toddle House hash browns. I asked the VP for the company that owns the ones around here about it -- he was working as expediter Christmas day -- and he admitted he'd never heard of Toddle House.
    #29
    acer2x
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    RE: The Toddle House 2006/01/29 23:24:16 (permalink)
    From the Winston-Salem Journal:

    WSJ Living Food Recipe SwapArchive
    Hash Browns 'Toddle House'

    By Michael Hastings
    JOURNAL FOOD EDITOR

    The following recipe for hash browns, requested by Charles Eldridge of the Zephyr community near Elkin, was sent in by Cheryl Dinkins of Yadkinville.

    Dinkins got the recipe from her stepfather, Bill Johnson, who used to operate the Toddle House restaurant in Winston-Salem. Dinkins said her stepfather told her that the secret is to use prebaked potatoes.

    Toddle House Hash Browns
    Baking potatoes
    Vegetable oil
    Paprika
    Salt and pepper

    1. Bake potatoes. When done and cool enough to handle, peel and dice.

    2. In a saute pan over medium heat, put about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or enough to prevent potatoes from sticking.

    3. When oil is hot, measure 1 cupdiced cooked potatoes, add them to pan and sprinkle with enough paprika to give them a nice color.

    4. Flip and fry potatoes until golden brown. Serve hot with salt and pepper to taste.
    #30
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