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DI DEBATE: Waffle House vs. Huddle House

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Let’s face it: if you’ve been drag racing, you’ve been to a “greasy spoon” diner or some other restaurant of questionable quality either in the middle of the night or early morning hours. It’s par for the course. Depending on factors such as strength of stomach, geographical location and, possibly, tastebuds you’ve likely a preference when it comes to these ever-so-frequent pre- and post-race meals. For the gang here at Drag Illustrated, it’s a battle between two breakfast food titans: Waffle House and Huddle House. Though each have their strengths and weaknesses, this particular group of drag strip goers seems to have a pretty obvious preference. Cast YOUR VOTE in the comments and share with us a story or two about your experience at either of the two ‘Houses.

A Waffle House hat actually owned and worn by DI's own Van Abernethy

A Waffle House hat actually owned and worn by DI’s own Van Abernethy

VAN ABERNETHY: A preacher man once told me that Huddle House was actually against the will of God! Preacher man: “Son, do you want to go to Heaven someday?” Me: “Oh, yes sir!” Preacher man: “Well then, what are you doing in this Huddle House instead of Waffle House?” Me: “I don’t know, is there a difference?” Preacher man: “I’ll say there’s a difference! Their cheese eggs, bacon, raisin toast and apple butter is to die for…and that’s important since you might meet your maker in short order if you don’t eat this stuff in moderation!” Me: “Gosh!” Preacher man: “Here’s the deal, son, when it comes to 24 hour eateries it’s awfully easy to travel down the wrong roads late at night, especially when you’re tired and not using good judgment. It’s mighty easy to end up with a sour stomach and over all disheartening outlook on life, and you can expect both if you find yourself at Huddle House in the wee hours of the morning gnawing on a nice, big plate of Mad Cow disease!” Me: “Gosh!” Preacher man: “I’m glad we had this talk.” Me: “What was your name again?”

WILL MANDELL: Despite having just returned from Whole Foods, I suppose I’ve no choice but to cast my vote. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Waffle House, but I don’t know that the smell of syrup as you walk through the door will ever escape me – it really gets me going. Cheese, eggs, raisin toast and grits? Does it get better than this? Honestly, all this talk about Waffle House has me seriously wondering how it’s possible that there was a literal crowd gathering at the kale sprouts kiosk in Whole Foods.

JT HUDSON: Is this even a contest? Come on, folks… Waffle House is the place for me. Those that know me would attest to the fact that I go way overboard on everything – especially food – and Waffle House presents the perfect opportunity to take my order over-the-top. A late night out with friends isn’t over without finishing up at one, and we do…probably too much. Roy McAvoy, played by Kevin Cosnter in the 1996 film Tin Cup, said all that you need to know:

Molly: I’ve got money from the bet. Let’s go somewhere fancy and celebrate.

Roy: There’s nothing to celebrate. Besides…these are my people. I’m a Waffle House guy. Got to stay in touch with that.

SCOTT DORMAN: This isn’t even close for me: Waffle House. Huddling is something you do when you’re cold, wet, miserable and are seeking life-preserving warmth from another human. On the other hand Waffles are simply delicious. I want Waffles not Huddling. I will have the All-Star Special please, eggs over-easy, hash browns with onions, white toast, patty sausages, pancakes and black coffee. Also, Waffle House recently announced a partnership with Roadie, Inc., which is claiming to be the Uber of package delivery. Soon you’ll be able to pick up and drop off packages at Waffle House locations. So, depending on where you’re headed, and if you’re willing, you might even be able to make a few bucks when you eat at Waffle House. Racers also might be able to use this service to save money or time shipping critical parts. It’s worth checking out at www.roadie.com.

Can anyone eat all this?

Can anyone eat all this?

AINSLEY JACOBS: I’ve been a diehard Waffle House girl ever since I was first introduced to the greasy spoon (literally) goodness as a teenager. When I’m looking for a quick fix after a long day at the track (or the morning after) some Waffle House Cheese ’N Eggs with a double order of hash browns scattered and smothered is my go-to standard. The staff is always friendly, the food is always hot, and I certainly can’t argue with their cheap prices. So what if the quality isn’t great? When it’s late and I’m sweaty, tired, and hangry, all I care about is being able to put myself into a nice little food coma and not have to worry about doing dishes afterwards. Plus, every meal comes with a free side of epic people watching! Still not convinced? Here’s another reason to choose Waffle House over Huddle House: “WaHo” is just fun to say.

IAN TOCHER: Well, Huddle House is just the poor cousin of Waffle House so that pretty much settles it right there. But if you need evidence, Waffle House came first in 1955, Huddle House nine years later, so the experience factor has to be taken into consideration. Also, Waffle House has more than 1,700 locations nationwide, Huddle House has approximately 440, so according to my Canadian math skills that means I’m almost four times more likely to find one when I need one. Both originated in the Greater Atlanta area, though, which is where I live, so that’s a wash—although with Waffle House having more than 130 restaurants in the Atlanta region alone please see my previous comment. Then there’s the cultural relevance of Waffle House. Has Kid Rock ever been arrested after a fight at Huddle House? No? Advantage, Waffle House. Does FEMA use Huddle House stores open for business as a measure of disaster recovery? No? Score another one for Waffle House. There’s just no question, Waffle House is to 24/7 greasy-spoon diners as Don Garlits is to drag racing – the original and still the best Big Daddy!

MIKE CARPENTER: Going against the grain here…Huddle House. I’m always a fan of the underdog. So what if it’s Waffle House’s “poor cousin”? When it comes to greasy breakfasts in sketchy locations and with questionable sanitation scores, why try to class it up by going to Waffle House? I’m going all in with an Original Big House Platter at Huddle House every time. Huddle House was born and raised in the Southeast, just like yours truly, and has a couple restaurants that are conveniently located near two of the tracks I frequent the most: Rockingham Dragway and Virginia Motorsports Park. The Rockingham location gets bonus points for being situated beside the ruins of the Great Falls Mill – where Hootie and the Blowfish shot their music video for “Old Man & Me”.

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Nearly irresistible.

NATE VAN WAGNEN: No real contest here…Waffle House. Huddle House is like the Pepsi to Waffle House’s Coca-Cola; some people prefer it, but it’s usually just acceptable when the other option isn’t available (see the prior Rockingham arguments). Either option is certainly welcome after a long, hot or cold day at the race track, but I’m definitely pulling into the Waffle House even if I pass a Huddle House along the way. If you’re feeling especially bold, as I usually am before or after a day at the track, Waffle House’s All-Star Special is the way to go; you get a breakfast meat, eggs, toast, grits, AND a waffle, of course. Between the short-order cooks and fellow patrons, you’re in for a good bit of entertainment with your meal. If you still aren’t convinced, know that Waffle House is the other ‘Breakfast of Champions’ – it’s the infamous go-to late-night/pre-race stop for defending NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster world champion Chris Demke and his team.

JOHN FORE III: Waffle House, baby! Are you being serious? There’s a Waffle House on every street corner down here in the south, and I’m not trying to drive around 30 miles looking for a Huddle House at 2AM – you know I need to get to the hotel so I can get my beauty sleep, and try to digest that two egg platter that Rosie with the expletives tattooed across her fingers served me. Dirty South, baby!

WES BUCK: Waffle House by 10 car lengths. Matter of fact, being able to withstand and possibly even enjoy a meal at Waffle House is something like a rite of passage for all that go drag racing. I was introduced to Waffle House at a very young age as I spent damn near every weekend of my childhood on the road – either going racing with my dad or going with him on some insane road trip to buy race car parts. I vividly remember my first experience at a Way-Full-Hoo-See (as we lovingly refer to it), and it was somewhere between my hometown in Kirksville, Missouri and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We were on our way home from buying a 500ci Pro Stock engine off some cat on the east coast – a 2,045-mile, 31-hour trip that we’d routinely make inside a weekend – and the waitress at Waffle House had the cook make my hash browns extra crispy, for which I am forever grateful. I still order them that way, along with a bacon and cheese omelet (no surprises here, people). While Rockingham’s Huddle House tests my loyalty a couple times a year, Waffle House has a special place in my heart…or stomach, or something.

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