Crime on the Menu at Waffle House

Crime on the Menu at Waffle House

There was an unappetizing breakfast special at Waffle House restaurants in Georgia and Alabama this summer. 18 of the 24/7 restaurants were robbed. The alleged perpetrators have been caught, but these culinary fixtures of the roadside South are often scenes of excitement. The 1,600 eateries are open all day, every day, and are often the only businesses open when taverns close. They only take cash, and most are beside the highway, a quick exit route. That’s a fast-food recipe for crime.

All this has been re-hashed and dished up by a major newspaper in a Waffle-House-free zone, the New York Times. Southerners are not taking this lightly:

“The Waffle House rather conscientiously fulfils a neglected social need. They’re clean, well-lit, warm, and inviting places that are always open. The one piece of useful information the NYT shares with us is that they knock themselves out never to close, even in blizzards, hurricanes, and other disasters. They have their own generators, the employees always show up, they stock up on food on the basis of forecasts, and so forth.

There are lots of unfortunate Americans who really need such a place. They need a cheap, hot meal when the power is out, and they often have been rendered homeless by personal disasters not shared by most of us.

The typical Waffle House crowd is mostly lower middle-class people, people who work with their hands, the class of Americans that was hit hardest by the economic downturn.

 But late at night especially, the Waffle House is a classless society. It is fashionable for young people of all classes to go there (at least in Rome, GA). College students study for exams there, and they can stay as long as they want, all night, if need be.”

 — “Scattered, Smothered, and Covered at the WAFFLE HOUSE,” Peter Lawler, big think

Watch out, New York Times yankees. You have slighted a cherished Southern institution.


“An Ode to Waffle House,” Tom Junod, Esquire

“Waffle House,” Stuff Southern People Like

“Waffle House Booth,” Truckstop Honeymoon


“How to Measure a Storm’s Fury One Breakfast at a Time,” Valerie Bauerlein, Wall Street Journal


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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