I made it 35 years without every going to a Waffle House. I can’t say the experience was worth 35 years of buildup, but I can check it off the bucket list. Plus there was a highlight to the experience that I’ll get to in a minute.
The particular Waffle House that we stopped at was in Edgewood, MD. Waffle House is basically a chain of greasy spoon diners. It’s kind of like Denny’s but a little less expansive. On his podcast, The Steve Austin Show, Stone Cold frequently mentions how while travelling between wrestling events, Waffle House was a good stop because they could easily clean up the menu. He talks about ordering steamed hash browns and chicken breasts and egg whites. Seeing all of the other stuff they have, I’d find it difficult to stay on track if that was my dietary guidelines, but I digress.
I opted for the All-Star breakfast which allowed me to get cinnamon raisin toast, two eggs (scrambled), a ham steak, grits, and a waffle for only $7.20.
It was a ton of food for the price. The ham steak was very good. The waffle was flimsy and flat. The eggs were cooked nicely, and the grits were creamy but were clearly thinned down using margarine (I’m a butter guy). I loved the cinnamon toast (I always do!). Of this bunch of stuff, there was really nothing to write home about.
I also had ordered some hash browns, and you know I had to get them “All the Way” which basically means they dump all of the toppings for just $5. All of the toppings include grilled mushrooms and onions, cheese sauce, diced ham, tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, Bert’s chili, and sausage gravy.
The hash browns themselves were decent. Some were crusty, others more soft. That’s kind of the deal with shredded hash browns like this. There was a lot going on atop these hash browns. The one notable item was Burt’s chili. This stuff was amazing. As I was eating it, I couldn’t figure out what I loved about it so much. There were some herb-y seasoning in there that I don’t normally associate with chili. I started to think it had something to do with the rest of the kitchen sink that was on top of the potatoes.
If you followed the link (which I didn’t do before or while I ate), you probably saw the detail about Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage being part of the chili. That would explain the difference in taste, probably because of the sage. According to most of the copycat recipes I’m seeing on the internet, it seems like there’s only a small amount of breakfast sausage, only 1/4 pound in about 4 pounds total. But sometimes it’s the little touches like this that make something outstanding.
I’d definitely stop again at Waffle House on the road, especially for breakfast, because you can’t beat getting all the food I did for under $14. But I’m more motivated by Burt’s chili, which I’m probably going to try to recreate at home using the fairly simple and quick copycat recipes and using my own breakfast sausage.