Posted by: deadmousediaries | December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Waffle House Girls – a Kyd Pick from Mitchell Kyd

She slid her card across the table, topped with a tiny candy cane. It was signed: “Merry Christmas from the Waffle House Girls.” I have found my people.

I’ve known for some time that I feel right at home where they’re serving up the scattered, smothered, and covered hash browns. We’ve become regulars. Waffle House means real food served on real plates by friendly people who smile and say hello as soon as you walk in the door. And best of all, they never run out of the thing I like most for dinner, which is breakfast. Great prices are the bonus.

When our waitress Karen handed me her Christmas card, it only reaffirmed what I already knew: I fit right in at Waffle House. And it’s more than just the juke box belting out Skynard or Cash.

Let’s break it down. First , when was the last time you got a hand-signed card from a restaurant server? Waffle House as an organization is not suffering from an identity crisis. These little all-night restaurants have been around since the ’50s and they know who they are, what they do and they know their customers. The staff at my Waffle House didn’t feel the need to spin their well wishes to cover all contingencies: they did not reduce “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” to make sure no one is offended. Second, although I’ve personally fought many battles over the offensive use of “girl” when a woman is involved, the “Waffle House Girls” have every right to define themselves and I love that they have grabbed that power. In a world where authenticity has been neutered and politically corrected into oblivion, I think that phrase projects a marvelous identity backed up with personality and a genuine appreciation for teamwork.

Another reason I love Waffle House is that it is owned by its employees. There are no distanced stockholders or corporate raiders making obscene profits on the efforts invested by the people pouring batter and scraping the grills. Given events of the last few years, isn’t that refreshing? If you want a share of the profits, fill out an employment application their leadership advises.

Did you know that Waffle House is such a beacon in the community that local governments turn to these little restaurants to help them prioritize resources and dispatch emergency teams after a storm? They call it the “Waffle House Test.” If the local Waffle House is open, then the response team moves on to another town or neighborhood. If it’s closed, then they realize there is a problem that needs to be fixed. It’s all true and I know it’s true. I just read it in my new Waffle House calendar.

If you aren’t already a fan, the holidays are a great time to give it a try. If you’re traveling between the inlaws’ turkey dinners or just can’t face another plateful of leftovers, stop in. Set your medi-fast and South Beach diets aside and return to your roots. Order a  fat, fluffy waffle with a side of grits and wrap your hands around a big, sturdy mug of fresh-brewed coffee. I guarantee someone nice will greet you when you walk in the door and make you glad you stopped.

And to my Waffle House girls – Karen, Mary, Carla and both Marias, wherever you are – Merry Christmas! I hope Santa brings you everything you’ve wished for. My family and I have put in a good word for you; we think you’ve earned it.

Copyright 2010. Mitchell Kyd. All rights reserved.

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Responses

  1. I haven’t been in a Waffle House in over a year. How could I have forgotten how good it is to have breakfast for dinner?!? Must head over to Waffle House soon!

  2. Yes the good old Waffle House, the pork chop dinner ,double hash browns and a big glass of sweet tea! Yes, now that is what i call dinner! Was just there last night. Bring home leftovers for breakfast, yum,yum! I never got a Christmas card and i am a regular,lol. They are great people over there. The waffle house is my favorite restaurant. Keep writing Yvonne, love ya Jo

  3. I’ve been a WH fan for a long time, and as a member of a 60’s band that does some touring around, I ALWAYS look for the Waffle House sign, and when I see it, I know I will wind up there at least once or twice during my stay. OK, here are some WHs I’ve been to and enjoyed: Jackson, TN; VA Beach, VA; Geneva, Ohio to name a few. Some of these were on the outskirts of town or maybe just over the border in the next town, but no matter, it’s like seeing an old friend. I had the pleasure of introducing WH to some of the other guys in the band, and met some resistance at first, but they learned as I did, that this is a place where they can get some good food.


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