Waffle House on Christmas Day

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claracamille
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2009/12/27 18:28:49 (permalink)

Waffle House on Christmas Day

My husband & I have started a tradition of eating at Waffle House on Christmas Day.  Our first Christmas Day Waffle House visit was an accident.  On our way from Charleston WV to Indianapolis plans to meet our son for dinner fell through.  No restaurants were open except Waffle House so we stopped there & had a great meal.
 
Now for the past few years after breakfast on Christmas morning with my mom, we start for Indy.  This year we stopped at a Waffle House in Dayton,OH.  It was PACKED, lots of folks wating for a booth.  We took the last 2 seats  at the counter & got a front row view of the grill.  There were 3 line cooks-waffles, meats & potaoes, & eggs; about 6 waitresses.  It was noisy,messy, & throughly entertaining. 
 
What a great slice of Americana!!
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    enginecapt
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/27 18:36:39 (permalink)
    I'd love to partake in this ritual... if we had any damn Waffle Houses.

    By the way, Michael Hoffman will sing paeans to you for this.
    #2
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/27 19:57:32 (permalink)
    As always, my Christmas dinner was a Waffle House meal.

    One of the things I really think great about Thanksgiving and Christmas at Waffle House is the fact that the top officials are working the grill, counter, booths and dishwasher. At the one I go to the owner of the franchise (she owns some 35-40 Waffle House restaurants in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania -- and she started as a waitress in one in Georgia while in college) works every station, including sweeping up. Her brother, a vice president of the corporation, does the same. So, too, do the regional managers and district managers. This is a company that really cares for its employees, and I am glad to be a longtime customer.
    #3
    ces1948
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/27 22:58:50 (permalink)
    Michael Hoffman

    As always, my Christmas dinner was a Waffle House meal.

    One of the things I really think great about Thanksgiving and Christmas at Waffle House is the fact that the top officials are working the grill, counter, booths and dishwasher. At the one I go to the owner of the franchise (she owns some 35-40 Waffle House restaurants in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania -- and she started as a waitress in one in Georgia while in college) works every station, including sweeping up. Her brother, a vice president of the corporation, does the same. So, too, do the regional managers and district managers. This is a company that really cares for its employees, and I am glad to be a longtime customer.
     


    Do you always have the same meal on Christmas?


    #4
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/27 23:13:35 (permalink)
    So, as I promised Michael Hoffman in a thread some time ago - I gave Waffle House yet another try - hoping my bad experiences were simply those NC and VA older locations (notwithstanding the fact that Richmond area Waffle Houses were notoriously dingy).

    So, it was Christmas Day and WH was the only place open and we needed lunch on the road.

    So, here goes:

    Waffle House: Clark's Summit, PA

    Place was busy, but not over crowded (as I heard they usually were on Christmas) - about 1/2 full when we arrived at 11:35am. However, I heard the waitress talking to a customer about past years, when there was a line out the door all day. She suspected the threat of ice had kept locals home. I found the place to be filled with a balance of travelers and locals. One such travelling group sat at the booth directly behind me and exclaimed, "this is where was sat last year."  

    So, anyway, let me back up: I walk in with wife and baby in toe. A very pleasant woman behind the counter says "sit anywhere you'd like honey", so we got a booth. I grabbed a high chair, and had to knock off food from it.

    We sat down at the table. Our menu-placemats were already there - greasy to the touch, and even a sticky spot on mine. I grabbed a napkin to clean them both.

    Table had been wiped, obviously, but it was still a little slick. So I cleaned the table too.

    Waitress got drink orders and came back with drinks and took our order. Super friendly - and, because I wasn't about to put my son's food on the table, I asked if they had any non-china plates for my son's use, which she gave us a to-go plate which was perfect.

    Now, I know WH has their specialties, but I already has b'fast at 8am, so I got their BLT and regular salad, wife got grilled chicken breast on a salad. Both of us got ranch dressing.

    Before the food arrive, the waitress gave us our silverware. Her hands were all over the silverware, not just the part where you handle, but the tines and all. The same hands which she was taking money from customers at the cash register. Did she wash them between? I dunno. 

    But considering the condition of our placemats, table and high chair, I wasn't sure. On top of that, the floor was not clean. Yes there has been ice earlier in the morning, so yes people may had trampled in wet, salt laden shoes. However, when we arrived for lunch, the ice was over and our shoes weren't completely filthy. Never the less, it has clearly not been recently mopped. 

    My wife's chicken breast was fine. Our salads were mostly iceberg lettuce, but fresh and crispy lettuce. I even commented to my wife that I appreciated that they used radishes. I've found that radishes are not as common as they used to be, in salads.

    My BLT was dry as a bone on first bite. Then I saw the packet of mayo tucked underneath the other half of the sandwich. I don't know how that was possible - but it's true. I would've assumed the packet was added after my sandwhich was plated. Maybe it slid, I don't know the reason why, though. I put a little ketchup on it instead. It helped tremendously. They used nice thick cut bacon. Again, a plus. Tomato, like the lettuce, was also fresh and had a nice bite to it.

    In addition to some food we brought in for our 16 month son, we also got him a grilled cheese sandwhich, which he enjoyed (well half of it - we saved the other half, and he enjoyed that later).

    The food came out pretty fast. Service was super friendly. On that end, WH passed. Food wasn't spectacular but fine and I realize we didn't get any of their specialty food items. 

    The bathrooms were cold in temperature, and not as well "wiped down" as the rest of the restaurant. The slightly rusted wheelchair/handicap bars looked like they were ignored during their wipe down process. I also get really pissed when a restaurant doesn't have a baby changing station in any bathroom - forcing you to use the dirty floor. Yes, we have our own mat - which we use to cover baby changing stations. But a non-mom and pop place, that does have high chairs and booster seats, should also have baby changing stations.

    Suffice to say, thanks to incredibly friendly service (except they never offered us a high chair, I had to look around for it - and it was clear I was looking for something, and no one said a word) it wasn't a horrible experience. But again, the overall cleanliness of the place, the waitresses handling money then my silverware, the less than pleasant bathroom, I again find myself wondering at the allure of Waffle House. 

    Again, this was not one of those new shiney Waffle Houses - and IMO, I think this one needs a facelift on the inside, but for crying out loud, they can make sure that when I pick up my menu-placemat (because it's two sided, I have to touch it) it isn't sticky in some spots and slick (greasy) in other spots. Use some soap or safe cleaning product when wiping the tables down.

    The price for our meals came to $12 and change - I left a $5 tip simply because the place was open and these people were serving me with a smile on Christmas Day (which I came to understand, is a WH tradition since 1955).

    I'm still waiting to find one of these clean restaurants the WH faithful keep talking about.

    I really wish I had pictures.




     
    #5
    jeepguy
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/28 00:55:56 (permalink)
     I got dragged to WH again the other day and ordered some hamburger steak dinner (double steak), with cheese, mushrooms, onions. It came with hashbrowns and texas toast. The food, and the total lack of cleanliness was disgusting. Yuck. I drove by on Christmas day and saw quite a few customers...what a treat! I just can't understand how such horrible food attracts so many.
    #6
    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/28 08:09:08 (permalink)
    Score, jeep,

    Like any restaurant chain or Mom and Pop it is only as good as the cast running it. I have been to Waffle Houses that I just turned around and walked out of. Just because of the way they looked. No excuse for a dirty restaurant. I believe the packet of Mayo you received was part of the ordering code process they use. Ask friends if they have had good luck at some of the other locations. A well run Waffle House is a great place. They make great waffles, hashbrowns, and grits. Make sure you order hashbrowns scattered and ask for your waffle a little more done....Russ
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    Greymo
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/28 09:11:31 (permalink)
    I do not know for certain as I was not there.  But, I would guess that the table and mats were wet because they had just been wiped down  and what you felt was plain old water and not grease,

    As far as the floor goes, on  a very busy day like Christmas, I am sure that there were always  enough customers so  floors could not be mopped.  As far as I am concerned,  there is nothing worse than sitting in a restaurant  ordering or trying to eat than having  one  swiping a mop around or  sweeping.
     
    When my children were small, there was no such thin g as a  changing station.  I would  just  put a pad on my lap and  change my child that way.

    There are lots of sparkling clean  Waffle Houses and some that are really dated  and  worn looking,  The one in Clark's  Summit happens to be one  of the latter.  We ate breaskfast at that one  twice last fall when my grandson participated in a wrestling tournament there.   We found nothing wrong with the place and had our usual good breakfast that we have at Waffle Houses.
    #8
    Born in OKC
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/28 09:52:22 (permalink)
    The Waffle House experiences posted above remind of a Christmas Day years ago, our own times in Waffle House more recently and our 2009 Christmas Day.
     
    Years ago we had our Christmas tree at home and then flew in to Dallas to spend some time with my wife's family.  I was not very smart.  We rented a car and I drove past the only restaurant I remember seeing open with out stopping.  My bad.  We ended up going in a small minute market operation and buying a loaf of bread, a package of cold cuts, a jar of mayo and some plastic knives - well , you get the idea.  We finally had a late Christmas dinner when we got to my wife's brother's place. 
     
    I wish we'd seen a Waffle House that day.  I just don't remember one between DFW and Waxahachie.
     
    We eat breakfast at Waffle House at least once a month. 
     
    My main complaints are (1) the menus which never feel clean (table tops are also suspect), and (2) the serving of oleo and not butter, and (3) the very casual coffee refill service.   I suspect that Waffle House as an organization is trying to cut costs with those last two measures.  McDonald's typically has more inviting restrooms. 
     
    But the waffles are good.  I also like the potatoes and the way they generally do a good job of serving crisp but not burned bacon.  They do a fair job with country ham.  They have a big breakfast - the "All American" I think they call it - and I generally take half of it home for another breakfast later.  They have a good chocolate icebox pie. 
     
    I am writing on the twenty-eighth.  Last Friday we we drove within half a block of our closest Waffle House on the way to a child's home and grandchildren and a breakfast of the usual Christmas morning casseroles and sweetbreads.  The Waffle House was packed.
     
    I don't know that I'm ready to make WH a Christmas tradition, but in the absence of a family gathering I would not hesitate to give it a try.
    #9
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/28 12:23:35 (permalink)
    The reason why the packet of mayonnaise was on the plate with your BLT was because they always place it on a BLT plate when the order is called, along with pickles. I think that has something to do with the fact that most people like mayonnaise on their BLTs. It helps prevent them from being dry.
    #10
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/28 12:32:47 (permalink)
    I guess some folks like them dry, or do not like mayo, or too much mayo or they would slather it on the bread before serving the BLT up - I cannot imagine a BLT without the mayo - I have heard them called BLTM even..
    #11
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 19:38:53 (permalink)
    Greymo: I'm quite aware of the difference between wet and greasy. I also know sticky when I feel it. I suppose the sticky was from the water, too.

    It wasn't busy, as I said. The waitresses were even commenting on how unbusy it was. And the grimy floor wasn't just the traffic areas, the whole floor was dirty looking.

    MH: I was happy to find the mayo. I found it odd it was UNDER 1/2 of the sandwich, instead of in view on the side fo the plate. I didn't see the packet until after I had already eaten most of the other half that wasn't on top of the mayo. I used ketchup - which was fine. I certainly didn't find it odd that they served mayo. I found it odd it was under the sandwich.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As per the baby changing station, it is now standard fare to have one. To not have one in today's society it a big "screw you" to families with babies.

    Waffle House lovers: I gave a fair assessment of the situation. My wife, who could care less about WH either way, said my assessment was truthful - not biased. She too was a little shocked how worn and dirty the place looked. She was also shocked that I posted my message with all those typos.

    My wife also reminded me, which I forgot about, that several years ago we stopped in the WH in Frederick, MD on Christmas day, because it was the only place open, and got b'fast sandwiches to go (which is why I didn't remember it, because we didn't actually eat there). The place was sparkly clean and they were super super friendly. So, obviously, I need to go to Frederick to get this famous service in a clean environment, which I haven't found in NC, VA and now PA.

    However, my post, was no exageration, it was fair to the staff - who were great, and to the food - which was fine, and I even gave props to some elements, and to the atmosphere and to the condition of the restaurant as we saw it on 12/25/09 from 11:35am to 12:20pm. I'm terribly sorry if my real reporting is somehow offensive to WH lovers' sensibilities.






    #12
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 19:58:43 (permalink)
    Scorereader,
     
    Having eaten in a Waffle House maybe once in my life, many years ago before I knew what Roadfood was, I don't think I am biased toward either side of the debate.  I found your report to be fair, open, and honest.  It sounds from your report and those of others that some WH locations are great places to eat while others might make the McD/Wendy's/BK/whatever alternative look less threatening.  Thanks for the report.
    #13
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 20:39:48 (permalink)
    Scorereader


    MH: I was happy to find the mayo. I found it odd it was UNDER 1/2 of the sandwich, instead of in view on the side fo the plate. I didn't see the packet until after I had already eaten most of the other half that wasn't on top of the mayo. I used ketchup - which was fine. I certainly didn't find it odd that they served mayo. I found it odd it was under the sandwich.

    As I said, they put the mayonnaise packet on the plate, along with the pickle chips, when the order is called. I assume that when the sandwich was plated it covered the packet accidentally. That is, I doubt that they covered it up purposely so that you wouldn't find it. Of course, never having been to that Waffle House restaurant, I can't honestly say that they didn't do it in order to try to make your visit miserable.
    #14
    sk bob
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 21:38:11 (permalink)
    Waffle House, for those of us who love it, WHAT A GREAT PLACE!
    for those who don't, STAY OUT
    #15
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 21:40:21 (permalink)
    #16
    sk bob
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 21:49:43 (permalink)
    Happy New Year Michael
    #17
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 21:53:40 (permalink)
    Thank you. And the same. But is it possible to tell when it's January when you're down there with no snow or ice?
    #18
    sk bob
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 22:07:53 (permalink)
    high in the upper 50's today,  mid 30's tonight.
    thats F*#@%^ winter here.
    #19
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/29 22:16:51 (permalink)
    Low 20s here this afternoon. With any luck it will go down to a more comfortable temperature.
    #20
    Foodbme
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 01:31:12 (permalink)
    Scorereader et al,

    Thats's what makes Waffle House-----Waffle House! It's Not the Waldorf or even Bob Evans---- It's Waffle House, with all it's Warts as well as all the Good Characteristics. If you have visited them regularly, you know what to expect and that's everything from Outstanding to the Pits. That's the nature of the Waffle House Attraction & Mistique. One thing I've learned is that the ALL STAR SPECIAL is the same whereever I go. I don't care if there's food on the floor or not because I don't eat off the floor! As long as they get the food from the Grill, Fry Pan, Toaster & Coffee Pot to the Plate & Cup, (which have been always clean) to my seat, I'm fine with that. If you could see some of the "Backroom" food areas of other restaurants, you would think WH is pretty clean. The only difference is they put their Kitchen out there for God & Everybody to see!
    #21
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 03:04:08 (permalink)
    Michael Hoffman

    Thank you. And the same. But is it possible to tell when it's January when you're down there with no snow or ice?

    I am still in the Atlanta area but don't live quite as close to the Interstate.  For  some years I could tell it was winter because of all the south bound autos stopped in gas stations  to refuel that were covered with mud or sometimes ice.  
     
    Most of them had Ohio tags.
    #22
    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 07:28:36 (permalink)
    Good help is hard to find. After reading this post it dawned on me that the Waffle Houses I frequent are staffed by white or black Americans. No Hispanics which I found strange being as Columbus has a high Hispanic population. Also one needs to understand how to order food at a Waffle House to insure seccess. A few tips are:
     
    1. I order waffles well done
    2. I order my hashbrowns scattered so they are a little drier.
    3. Sit at the counter and watch them prepare plates. Every plate is coded so the cook knows what it is.
    4. They dont clean the tables real well so I make sure that I place silverware on the napkins provided on the tables.
    5. Everything comes on its own plate so you must consolidate onto one plate.
    6. Booths are tight for 4 adults. Some have tables or take the counter.
    7. Tell them not to overcook the sausage.
    8. Make sure you try the grits
     
    I am sure others have additional tips. If I ever open a place that serves breakfast I would hunt down a Waffle House cook and hire them. Some are amazing to watch. A seasoned cook makes no mess and can handle a full restaurant by themselves. A packed well run Waffle House is something to be seen.
     
    ...Russ
    #23
    Soccer862923
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 09:33:02 (permalink)
    claracamille

    My husband & I have started a tradition of eating at Waffle House on Christmas Day.  Our first Christmas Day Waffle House visit was an accident.  On our way from Charleston WV to Indianapolis plans to meet our son for dinner fell through.  No restaurants were open except Waffle House so we stopped there & had a great meal.
     
    Now for the past few years after breakfast on Christmas morning with my mom, we start for Indy.  This year we stopped at a Waffle House in Dayton,OH.  It was PACKED, lots of folks wating for a booth.  We took the last 2 seats  at the counter & got a front row view of the grill.  There were 3 line cooks-waffles, meats & potaoes, & eggs; about 6 waitresses.  It was noisy,messy, & throughly entertaining. 
     
    What a great slice of Americana!!


    We Daytonians do tend to love our Waffle House. It was a mad house teh day after Christmas when a few friends and I showed up after a night of partying.
    #24
    boilermaker
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 10:40:12 (permalink)
    Born in OKC 
     
    I wish we'd seen a Waffle House that day.  I just don't remember one between DFW and Waxahachie. 
     


    1020 HWY 287 BYPASS
    WAXAHACHIE, TX 75165
    I used to live in Arlington. There are at least two on I-20 between Hwy 360 and I-35E, and another in Lancaster off I-35E.
     
    My first WH experience was ordering a patty melt and having it come out charred black. I was hooked!
    #25
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 14:47:48 (permalink)
    Ah boilermaker,
     
    I don't know the date of the first Waffle House in North Texas.  The trip I remember was probably in the late 1980's.  A lot of the growth between Dallas and Fort Worth was after we moved to Georgia and I was not then aware of a route like 360.  I suspect we went out the south end of DFW, took 183 to I-35E, and south to 287 or similar. 
     
    I don't remember a Waffle House.  I remember a cool overcast day with misting rain at times.  There might have been one or more Waffle Houses along the way but if so they did not register.
     
    How long were you in Waxahachie?
    #26
    the grillman
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 17:47:54 (permalink)
    Like Mr. Jackson, I always order my waffle "dark".  Otherwise, it tends to come out a little too flabby; I like some crisp edges.  Pecans?  PLEASE!

    My standard Waffle House breakfast - actually, I have three...

    1)  two eggs, over medium, sausage well done (again, I like the crisp edges) grits, and dry wheat toast.  Coffee, black.

    2)  Pecan waffle, cooked dark, served with honey, not the syrup.  Sausage cooked well, or bacon, crisp.  Coffee, black.

    3)   Same as #1, except sub an order of hash browns, scattered and smothered (onions).  Coffee, black.

    When I have my 7 year old son along, I often get the Waffle House special, which is two eggs, choice of meat, toast, grits, hash browns, and a waffle, all for about $7.  My little guy will eat just about anything, but if I order eggs, and him a waffle, he wants to swap.  The Special is enough food (and definitely enough carbs) for both of us to split and share.  He likes to sit at the counter and watch the action - breakfast, and a floor show.   My boy loves Waffle House, and so do I!  My wife, well, I can't talk her into going....she prefers a slightly more refined breakfast of lattes, bagels, etc. 

    Haven't been there Christmas morning, but it's a couple times a month Saturday breakfast for the son and I...especially before perusing the offerings at the local Lowe's or some quality father-son time.
    #27
    Beverly K
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 20:58:31 (permalink)
    You guys make me miss Waffle House. It was always a Christmas Day tradition on the drive to Cape Coral from Orlando to visit my parents.
     
    I must have hit most of the WHs on I-75 in those years!
     
    But my parents are gone, and there are no WHs in this part of PA. Don't know why, I think they would do well here.
     
    My favs:  Pecan Waffles with bacon or Cheesy Eggs with Raisin Toast.
     
     
    #28
    MacTAC
    Cheeseburger
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 22:25:25 (permalink)
    Add Grits and Sausage to the Cheesy Eggs with Raisin Toast, and that's my favorite...
    #29
    boilermaker
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    Re:Waffle House on Christmas Day 2009/12/30 22:31:20 (permalink)
    Born in OKC

    Ah boilermaker,
     
    I don't know the date of the first Waffle House in North Texas.  The trip I remember was probably in the late 1980's.  A lot of the growth between Dallas and Fort Worth was after we moved to Georgia and I was not then aware of a route like 360.  I suspect we went out the south end of DFW, took 183 to I-35E, and south to 287 or similar. 
     
    I don't remember a Waffle House.  I remember a cool overcast day with misting rain at times.  There might have been one or more Waffle Houses along the way but if so they did not register.
     
    How long were you in Waxahachie?


    I have no clue how long they've been there, either. I had a former employer in Duncanville, and traveled to DFW several times a year from 1996 to 2001. I moved to Arlington in 2001 and lived there until August. My job took me to Waxahachie once a month, and through it more often than that. WH's have always seemed to be there. I frequented the one in Mansfield quite often.
    #30
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