Thursday, July 06, 2006

Scattered, Smothered and Covered

Marni and Beth have provided some inspiration in their comments on my Cosmo's Factory post. So, here begins another semi-regular series on HH: regional restaurant chains. No, make that regional fast food chains. The first entry: Waffle House.

Now, I'll be the first to admit my experience with actually eating at these places is limited, to say the least. However, I've driven by many of them on trips to Texas, Louisiana, and especially Florida. As Beth has reminded me, Waffle House is known to have two restaurants across an interstate exit from each other! Keep the driving directions simple!!!

Sorry, it's been 10 years or more, and even then, it was only a few times. So, I really can't talk much about the food. But, here are some facts from their website:

The Waffle House chain began with a small restaurant in Avondale Estates, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. This was opened in 1955. There are now more than 1,500 Waffle Houses. In fact, I did a quick study using the "Restaurant Locator" on their site, and it breaks down like this:

Alabama: 111, Arizona: 37, Colorado: 13, Delaware: 2, Florida: 150, Georgia: 376, Illinois: 2, Indiana: 14, Kansas: 5, Kentucky: 60, Louisiana: 54, Maryland: 11, Missouri: 38, Mississippi: 60, North Carolina: 119, New Mexico: 2, Ohio: 57, Oklahoma: 18, Pennsylvania: 11, South Carolina: 124, Tennessee: 107, Texas: 99, Virginia: 44, and West Virginia: 4.

I can personally attest to the fact that both the Waffle Houses in my home state of Illinois are located in suburban St. Louis. There are no Waffle Houses in Chicago! As you can see, they are concentrated in the South, and especially in the Southeast.

UPDATE: Link to the "Fun Facts" sheet on the Waffle House website!

Coming soon: White Castle, Steak 'n Shake, Jack in the Box, and Chick-Fil-A!!!!


Blogger JM said...

As someone who has lived in both North Carolina and Texas I can attest to the power of Waffle House. I will also say that NC Waffle House's are the best as I have experienced them in NC, TX, WV, SC, KY, IN, IL and VA.

I also have to admit that I might have been under the influence as well while visiting some or most of these so that might impact my opinion.

10:14 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Oh, I'm sure the open-all-night factor encourages drunken chow-down sessions at Waffle House. I just haven't lived close enough to enjoy said drunken visits very often. I believe my visits were while both sober and weary from traveling. I just really don't remember them!

10:27 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

BRILLIANT! I am honored that my cousin and I inspired such a lovely post.

And may I point out that Chik-Fil-A also started in Atlanta? No wonder we're a happy bunch of fat folks down here.

Add to your list: Krispy Kreme (or do you not yet have that heaven of a doughnut in Chicago?).

5:17 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Oh, good heavens, yes!!! KRISPY KREME...good call. It didn't really occur to me. But, I'd say it does qualify as "fast food", as you can see the little buggers being mass-produced right before your eyes...and, yet, sooooooooo delicious!!! (Plus, I heard they were fat & carb free...WINK, WINK)

6:06 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

I just checked; my closest Waffle House is 0.6 miles from my door. Sadly (but happily for my hips), the nearest Krispy Kreme is miles away.

6:18 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Marni said...

376 WHs in Georgia! Does't surprise me one. little. bit. Did you know that now you can actually pick up a MAP of Waffle Houses in the restaurants? If I remember correctly it tells you the EXIT number! Amazing... but love the grease...

I don't like Krispy Kremes at all -- my mom ate a dozen when she was pregnant with me and got SO sick. To this day just the smell of a donut makes me gag. Wish I liked them, though. I love sweets, fat, and all that bad stuff.

6:22 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Beth: "0.6 miles"...that sounds like walking distance. I'm sure I'd be able to convince myself that WH was healthy, if I could walk there and back. (I'm pretty good at rationalizing things.)

Marni: I wish my mom had been sick on more food items when I was womb-bound. I like almost EVERYTHING that's unhealthy. And, I combine that with my absolute lack of moderation, and it's a recipe for poor health!!!

6:29 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

Oh wow EH, you hit the nail on the head here. I know you have no way of knowing these things but I have eaten breakfast (usually just coffee during the week) at Waffle House every morning since 1988. I have my own chair and no one will let anyone sit there between 6:00 and 6:30am.

Waffle House, like the old time barber shop, is a staple in the south.

I live in Mississippi in a sleepy college town of about 100,000 people and we have 6 Waffle Houses. Three of them are within a mile of each other and they are always full.

It is a piece of Americana that is uniquely southern and if you haven't had any hashbrowns "scattered, smothered, covered and topped" lately, you owe yourself a road trip.

Grease rocks!

8:42 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Grease definitely rocks!

Hey, I'd like to live at least long enough to play with my future grandkid(s). But, I want to enjoy life in the process. I'm sorry to say I get a bit too much enjoyment out of eating fast food! Oh, well...

8:47 AM, July 07, 2006  

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