One-star Waffle House reviews: a collection
How can you be angry at a Waffle House? Well, these cranks found a way
Today: let’s talk about Waffle House, the glorious, maddening source of so much drama and so much bliss. Pass the syrup, please. [Note: your email service may clip this one early because of all the pics below. Make sure you click through to read the whole thing.]
We live in an angry society. This is a statement of fact, my friends; a whole lot of us spend our days seething with rage, just looking for an outlet to unload all that tamped-down frustration, anxiety and wrath. Today, we’re not going to focus on the why of that rage, but specifically how we all handle that rage. Spoiler: it ain’t with therapy and introspection.
Friends, it’s time to talk about one-star Yelp reviews.
Anyone can gush with praise, or burble out mediocrity. It takes the truly committed to put finger to screen and pound out a one-star Yelp review.1 They’re tiny bits of art, each one, little venomous snowflakes that give you an insight into not just the operations of the restaurant but the psychology of the reviewer, too.
One of our proven time-killers when we’re on a long family drive is reading one-star reviews of the restaurants we’ve just passed. Sometimes they’re sad and pithy (one poor gentleman reviewed a Burger King with the simple “dirty and unkind”), sometimes you can tell there’s a side of the story that isn’t getting told (like the Domino’s reviewer who complained that the delivery person threatened to shoot him), and sometimes there’s just an entire Southern gothic novel just beneath the surface (like the reviewer who one-starred an Alabama cemetery because there were too many unsolved murders in town, then in a separate review bemoaned the lack of yogurt selection in his local supermarket). Give it a try yourself; it makes the miles fly by.
Full disclosure: I love Waffle House3. It’s an oasis after late-night game coverage and/or drinking. It’s the perfect way to cap off a long run. It’s comfortable even when it’s loud and sticky; its flaws are a feature, not a bug.
You’ve probably seen Anthony Bourdain’s famous “everything is beautiful and nothing hurts” visit to Waffle House, but if not, give it a watch to set the tone here:
Back in April 2020, I might have been the first journalist in America to (legally) return to a restaurant post-lockdown when I wrote on Waffle House reopening. (This wasn’t exactly being a war correspondent. I just happened to live in a state whose governor was so hellbent on reopening he even defied President Trump.) Politics aside, the First Waffle After Lockdown was one of the top five meals I’ve ever had in my life.
Full disclosure, part 2: Having waited on more than a few tables in my day, I give servers acres of latitude. Serving the public is a tough job, because the public is terrible. (I still dream of causing permanent bodily harm to some customers, like the guy who kept tugging on my apron string while I was in the middle of taking other tables’ orders at a restaurant in Virginia.) So when I hear people wail about terrible servers, well, I’m not always inclined to take their complaints as gospel.
…. I get why people may not share my same affinity for the ubiquitous yellow-and-black or the fine folks of the service industry. Sometimes, things go sideways. Sometimes, the people behind the counter DGAF. Sometimes, the cook plays fast-and-loose with the concept of sanitary kitchen management. All of this can be true.
But hey, if you wanted a complication-free dining experience, you wouldn’t have opened the door to a Waffle House, now would you?
Enough preamble! Let’s hear some stories from random Waffle Houses all across this great land!
Comment section: Tell me your most memorable Waffle House story. Note that “memorable” can cut both ways:
Nobody is innocent at 3:15 a.m. at a Waffle house, sir
Every Waffle House visit is a tale. Sometimes, more than one
Wait, go back to that part about the attack
If you’re thrown out of a Waffle House for being too drunk, you’re not the hero of the story
This sounds awesome, frankly
Three hours in a Waffle House is like three years in the outside world
This sounds awesome, part II
I too love some good Scrabbled eggs
I think I studied this poem in grad school
This sounds awesome, part III
Was this actually a dream you had, sir?
Scattered, smothered, covered and living their truth
You aren’t the hero of this story, part II
This is the title of the greatest song George Jones never wrote
For the love of God, do not set out at sundown to walk to a Waffle House
That boy just learned more from a Waffle House waitress than he will from any five of his future teachers
And finally …
… this is literally the motto of the Waffle House
Got a Waffle House memory of your own? Share it here!
Just to cap this all off, I asked my Twitter pals for their Waffle House memories, and as usual, Twitter did not disappoint:
Beautiful flowers, every single tale. Thanks for reading, friends. Go grab yourself a waffle — carefully — and meet back here next week.
This has been issue #56 of Flashlight & A Biscuit. Check out all the past issues right here. Feel free to email me with your thoughts, tips and advice. If you’re new around here, check out some of our recent hits:
What is a Diablo Sandwich, anyway? Solving a “Smokey and the Bandit”mystery
A journey to the heart of the real America: Buc-ees.
What it was like to cover the Beijing Olympics inside a locked-down China
Beneath the waters of the South’s most haunted lake
How Richard Petty learned that Daddy won’t always let you win
The joy of a really terrible Southern accent
If you dig this newsletter, share it with your friends. Invite others to the party, everyone’s welcome.
Don’t give the restaurant one-star Yelp reviews when you’re getting food delivered and it’s running late. That’s not the restaurant’s fault.
The backstory: every so often, the day job floods over its usual banks, like this week, when I’ll be covering the PGA Championship all seven days. So I’m tapping into the vibe of previous Flashlight & A Biscuit collections, like:
… both of which are very much worth your time.
Favorite order: Tortilla with scrambled eggs, diced sausage, and scattered and smothered hash browns with some hot sauce. Alas, tortillas at WaHo were a casualty of the pandemic.