Waffle House

If you’re looking for Southern breakfast food done right, there’s one place you absolutely have to go at least once: Waffle House. This staple in the Southern states has gained quite the reputation. Seeing as it’s open 24 hours a day all year long, it attracts a wide variety of customers. Some see it as an amazing breakfast spot where you can get a massive meal for cheap. Others view it as a hangout for high schoolers and college kids who stop by at night after a little too much fun out on the town. And yet others wouldn’t eat there if someone paid them.

But if you’ve ever stepped foot in a Waffle House, you know it’s a special experience. Admittedly, if you’re looking for luxury, it’s not the place for you. But if you’re trying to find a place where you can stuff yourself with your favorite breakfast foods at any time of the day or night, then Waffle House should certainly be on your list.

Do you know what you should get the next time you visit, though? Those massive menus can be difficult to wade through, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you may get a real flop of a meal. We certainly don’t want you to leave Waffle House with a bad impression, so check out which of this restaurant’s most popular menu items we suggest you avoid — and which ones you should definitely try. Anytime is the right time for breakfast food.

17. Pecan pie

Pecan pie

Waffle House is a breakfast restaurant, so you may be surprised that the first thing to pop up on the menu is a dessert. Waffle House actually serves a variety of lunch, dinner, and dessert dishes, so even if you’re not in the mood for breakfast food, you can find something to eat there. And while there is one solid pie choice on the menu (looking at you, triple chocolate pie), we just can’t get on board with Waffle House’s pecan pie.

This stuff definitely doesn’t stay fresh. Sure, you may not expect them to bake a new pie just for you, but once you order a slice of this pie, it’s clear that it’s been sitting around for quite some time unless you’ve gotten really lucky. Because of that, it doesn’t have the flaky crust you probably want. On top of that, the filling is also likely to be cold and a far sight stiffer than any pie filling should be. Add in the fact that the whole affair is overly sweet and it’s clear why the pecan pie isn’t our favorite.

Don’t think that you can’t find a sweet treat that’s actually good to finish off your meal with if you go to Waffle House, though. There are plenty of other options for you to choose from that will sate your sweet tooth in no time. Just don’t waste your time with the pecan pie.

16. Coffee

Coffee

We’re not necessarily saying here that you shouldn’t drink the coffee at Waffle House. If you’re there in the morning, there’s a good chance that you’re going to want a cup of Joe. It’ll help you wake up and start your day off right, no matter how good or bad it tastes. But let’s just get this out of the way: the stuff at Waffle House just doesn’t taste good.

Basically, Waffle House coffee tastes like the absolute cheapest coffee you can buy. And let’s be honest: it probably is. Depending on if you get a fresh pot or not, there’s a good chance that it’s going to taste either stale or burnt. And somehow, it’s usually both too bitter and too watery. How does that even happen?

It’s probably made worse by the fact that most people have access to really great coffee on a regular basis now. Whether you go to Starbucks or visit your local barista at an indie shop, you’re going to get relatively high-quality beans and brews. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case at Waffle House. Our advice? Cover up that not-so-pleasant taste with plenty of creamer and sugar, and it might just come out tasting okay. Just don’t expect too much when you order a coffee from this restaurant.

15. Sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich

Sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich

Sometimes, you just want something simple when you go out to eat, and Waffle House will definitely deliver in that arena. That’s why the sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich might sound appealing to a lot of people. You’ll think you know exactly what you’re getting and you may figure that it’s a pretty hard dish to mess up. But if you’re eating at Waffle House, you might want to order something other than this breakfast sandwich.

First of all, the sausage in this sandwich is often too dry, which is unfortunate because it really needs some juiciness to soak into the bread. The bread itself is pretty undesirable, too. When you order a breakfast sandwich, you may expect it to come out on an English muffin, a biscuit, or even a bagel. But that’s just not what you’re going to get at Waffle House. Instead, it’s made with nothing more than basic, buttered bread. This makes it hard to handle all those messy ingredients, as the bread falls apart soon after you start eating the sandwich. This is even more of a problem if you ordered your egg in the sandwich sunny side up, meaning that there’s potentially runny yolk leaking everywhere.

Finally, the cheese just doesn’t do it for us either. That slice of American cheese just makes the whole sandwich mushier and less appealing. While this dish might fill the hunger void, it’s definitely not your best choice on the menu.

14. Covered hash browns

Covered hash browns

There is a lingo you have to learn when you visit Waffle House, and it mainly pertains to the chain’s hash browns. If you’re a potato lover, this is surely going to be on your list of side menu items to try. But what does it mean when your hash browns are "smothered," "covered," or "capped"? Well, if you ordered covered hash browns, your fried, shredded potatoes are going to come out with a slice of cheese placed on top of them. That’s it.

Now, we love cheese, and it often pairs well with potatoes. The starchiness of the potato and the creaminess of the cheese come together for something that’s truly fantastic. But Waffle House definitely missed the mark here with their covered hash browns. We’ve already talked about the fact that we don’t love the American cheese that Waffle House uses very much, but it’s back again in this dish. The plastic-like cheese barely melts properly, so you’re left with more of a mass of cheese than the melted richness of your dreams. And since the cheese usually only covers a portion of the potatoes, expect to eat a lot of plain hash browns.

Now, while this side isn’t necessarily bad, there are many better ways to order your hash browns. And though the cheese may be tempting, believe us when we say it’s just not worth it so you can try something that’s way more delicious.

13. Chicken biscuit

Chicken biscuit

When you first think of a chicken biscuit, what comes to mind? If you’re like many people, you’ll think of a chain like Chick-fil-A that pairs its perfectly breaded chicken with a buttery, flakey bun that you can’t help but fall in love with. Those types of chicken biscuits have the ability to turn your whole morning around and set you up for an excellent day. But if you’re expecting the same thing when you order the chicken biscuit at Waffle House, then you’re almost certainly going to be disappointed.

Let’s start with the chicken itself. While you will probably be expecting fried chicken, that’s not what you’re going to get. Instead, you get a thin piece of plain grilled chicken. Grilled chicken certainly isn’t bad, but it’s probably not what you want in a chicken biscuit. Not only does it not have the crispy, crunchy breading you’re looking for, it’s also missing most of its flavor — this chicken is about as bland as it can get.

Plus, there’s the sad fact that literally nothing else comes on this biscuit sandwich. Sure, you can add egg or cheese, but they’re not a part of the base dish. Who wants to eat a piece of dry grilled chicken on a biscuit? We certainly don’t. Granted, the sandwich does taste better if you add other toppings and some ketchup or some hot sauce, but you shouldn’t have to doctor a dish so much just to make it taste good.

12. T-bone dinner

T-bone dinner

We shouldn’t have to tell you that you probably don’t want to get a steak at a restaurant like Waffle House. It’s not a steakhouse by any stretch of the imagination, so you can’t fairly expect a steak there to blow you out of the water. Then again, sometimes you’re just at Waffle House and feel like a steak, which is why you may be convinced to order the T-bone dinner. But we’re here to urge you to rethink this situation.

When you first look at your T-bone dinner plate, you’re going to see a lot of beige. A colorful plate is often considered to be the marker of a healthy meal, and that’s certainly not what you’re getting here. The T-bone comes with a pile of hash browns and some bread on the side, so it’s not exactly what you would call healthy. While a T-bone is generally a good cut of meat, the way they cook it here is really hit or miss. If you have someone on the grill who knows what they’re doing, it might be good. But more often than not, the workers have so many other things going on that they’re not going to be paying super-close attention to your steak in particular.

Therefore, you’re likely to get a steak that’s overdone, leaving it rather tough and chewy. Combine that with the dry hash browns and toast, and it’s clear that this meal will leave you more thirsty than satisfied.

11. Grits

grits

We’ll start off by saying that the grits bowls at Waffle House are actually very good. Their signature grits can be mixed with all other types of ingredients, like egg, cheese, bacon, and more, further amping up the experience. The result is a bowl of all the breakfast goodness you want in one go. It doesn’t get much simpler or easier than that, right?

But unfortunately, you can also order the grits on their own. And we have to tell you that they’re not as good as you might expect from another Southern restaurant. The grits you’ll get at Waffle House are about as bland as they can be, in fact. If you’re lucky, they’ll have plenty of butter in them, but most of the time, that isn’t the case. Taking a bite of these grits is like taking a bite of nothing — there’s basically no taste there at all.

When you add enough salt, pepper, hot sauce, and anything else you can get your hands on, they actually become really tasty, which is why they’re not further down this list. But you really shouldn’t have to add that many ingredients to a side dish just to make it taste okay.

10. Plain waffle

Plain waffle

For a place that literally has "waffle" in the name, you would probably expect good waffles. And while the waffles here aren’t bad, they aren’t our favorite thing on the menu, either. That’s especially true of the plain waffle. There are other types of waffles on the menu that are adorned with fruits, nuts, or other sweet additions. But something about the plain waffle at Waffle House is just too boring for our taste.

While the texture of this waffle is good, the flavor is just kind of blah. It’s slightly sweet but, other than that, you’re really not going to taste much. In fact, it’s almost mandatory to add plenty of butter and syrup to make this a dish you’ll actually want to eat. It’s not that the waffle is bad, per se. It’s just not memorable, and it’s not something you’ll crave the next time you visit a Waffle House.

However, for kids, this breakfast may just be where it’s at. The taste is fairly innocuous, so it’s not likely to offend even the pickiest of eaters. Go ahead and order it if you want. Just remember that there are other waffles on the menu that you’re likely going to enjoy a lot more than the plain one. And don’t forget all that butter!

9. Texas grilled chicken melt

Texas grilled chicken melt

If you’re not at Waffle House for breakfast, it can be difficult to decide what to order. There are a lot of options, yes, but are they actually good? That’s what we asked ourselves when we first tried the Texas grilled chicken melt. It’s one of many "melts" you’ll find on the Waffle House menu, and it’s … okay. This sandwich is made of toasted bread, grilled chicken, and a slice of American cheese. And that’s it. It’s very simple and, in our opinion, kind of boring.

However, the actual taste of all the ingredients together isn’t all that bad. Is it a little dry? Sure. But if you decide to ask for some hot sauce or some ketchup, you can make something that tastes a little bit better and with an improved texture. The problem is that, despite the grilled chicken, this meal feels really unhealthy. And if you were going to be unhealthy anyway, why wouldn’t you pick something that’s more indulgent and just tastes better altogether?

Overall, this meal is just about. You can definitely dress it up to make it taste better if you’re convinced this is what you want, but we would suggest a number of other menu items.

8. Biscuits and gravy

Biscuits and gravy

When you think of classic Southern food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s hushpuppies, maybe it’s sweet potato pie, or maybe it’s crispy fried chicken. But when it comes to breakfast, it’s hard to find a dish that’s as popular and as universally beloved as biscuits and gravy. It all starts with a fluffy biscuit that’s split in two. Then, creamy and savory gravy gets spread all over the top. The gravy almost breaks down the bread, making it softer and even more mouth-watering. Sounds amazing, right?

Luckily, Waffle House knows what it’s doing when it comes to biscuits and gravy. The gravy from this place is unbelievably thick, and it presents the perfect counterpart to the carb-heavy biscuit. When you order this dish, keep in mind that you’re only going to get one biscuit. If you want more, be sure to ask when you place your order — you don’t want any of that gravy to go to waste.

While we love the biscuits and gravy at Waffle House, they can be a little lackluster depending on which location you go to. But, by all means, if you’re craving this hearty breakfast, you should order it the next time you’re at WaHo.

7. Texas cheesesteak melt

Texas cheesesteak melt

You know the Texas grilled chicken melt is just okay, but what about the Texas cheesesteak melt? In our opinion, it is slightly better than its chicken counterpart. After all, when you order something that’s described as a "melt," there’s a good chance that you want a dish that’s going to be juicy, flavorful, and melty. That’s definitely what you’re going to get here. The meat itself is hearty, and the juices sometimes soak into the toast. Doesn’t that sound good? And while American cheese isn’t exactly the fancy brie you sometimes pick up at the store, it complements all that savory meat quite well.

As with all of Waffle House’s bread, the toast that makes up this sandwich is a little boring. But again, you can improve that with just a bit of sauce if you want the taste to be more interesting. Of course, we also recommend that you grab some hash browns on the side if you’re trying to make one coherent meal. Another great thing about this option is the fact that you can take it on the go if you’re in a rush and you’re just getting takeout … and that’s not something we can say for most Waffle House meals.

6. Smothered hash browns

Smothered hash browns

Thinking about ordering the plain hash browns to go with all the other food you’re getting? That’s a solid idea. Sometimes, you don’t want to be bogged down with all the weird add-ons. While we totally see where you’re coming from, if you truly love hash browns, you may want to consider getting them smothered. Wondering what that means? If you order your potatoes this way, they’ll come out with sautéed onions on top.

Now, even if you don’t like a lot of different toppings, you have to admit that onions make just about anything taste better, and that’s definitely true when it comes to these hash browns. The sautéed mushrooms add some (probably unneeded) fat and even more flavor. And while it’s still about as basic as can be (you’re not getting your hash browns "capped", or covered in mushrooms, after all), it does add something special to your meal.

While this dish wouldn’t make a whole meal on its own, it can be used as a delicious side dish. Just don’t be basic and get your hash browns topped with juicy onions if you want to take your Waffle House meal to the next level.

5. Quarter-pound Angus hamburger

Quarter-pound angus hamburger

You may not think that a breakfast restaurant is the best place to order a burger. But we’re happy to announce that the quarter-pound Angus hamburger is actually one of our favorite items on the menu. Sometimes, you may not always want breakfast food. If you find yourself at Waffle House anyway, you still have this really solid option. Admittedly, it’s not a super inventive or creative meal option, but that’s not what you should expect from Waffle House. Rather, it’s a classic that’s hard to get wrong, and that’s why it landed at this spot on the list.

The quarter-pound Angus burger starts with the thick patty, which is substantial enough to fill you up even if you’re feeling pretty hungry. Then comes the lettuce, tomato, and onion. All of these toppings are essential, but you don’t have to stop there if you don’t want to. You can also add jalapeños, grilled mushrooms, chili, and bacon. Therefore, you have the opportunity to really deck your burger out.

And don’t forget about that cheese! If you want to take this hamburger and make it into a cheeseburger, ask for a sweet, sweet slice of that yellow American cheese to top it all off.

4. Hashbrowns all-the-way

Hashbrowns all the way

If you’re ready to go all the way, your go-to order from Waffle House should be hash browns all-the-way. Confused about what that means? Only diehard WaHo fans know the truth. First, the dish starts with the restaurant’s signature hash browns. Then, every topping on the list is added on top of the potatoes, resulting in a mish-mash of ingredients that sounds dubious but is actually pretty fantastic, especially if you’re visiting the chain after some late night celebrations and are in need of a real treat.

If you order your hash browns this way, they’re going to come out with cheese, mushrooms, grilled onions, ham, jalapeños, and tomatoes. Yes, that is a lot of food, and yes, it’s also a great combination. Then, they add chili and sausage gravy to complete this absolutely over-the-top meal.

Anyone who wants a meal that really embodies the whole ethos of Waffle House should order this just for the fun of it. It’s indulgent and decked out and reflects everything there is to love about the quirky chain. You may just feel like you’re in college again. But word to the wise: Don’t feel the pressure to finish it all in one sitting — you can always get a to-go container and save it for later.

3. Chocolate chip waffle

Chocolate chip waffle

Now, we’ve already mentioned that the plain waffle is just okay. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the waffle game entirely. In fact, if you want a waffle that will really knock it out of the park, you absolutely have to try the chocolate chip waffle. Yes, this waffle is essentially a dessert, and you can order it either first thing in the morning or after you’re finished with whatever you have for lunch or dinner (though it is a pretty big portion — you may want to take some home to enjoy later).

What we love best about the chocolate chip waffle is the fact that they really don’t skimp on the chocolate chips. They’re spread out all over on top, melting into the little pockets in the surface of the waffle. You’re left with gooey, creamy chocolate that goes perfectly with the thick, slightly crisp waffle.

If you’re looking for something sweet at Waffle House, this is definitely our top suggestion. It beats the pie options on the menu. One thing is for sure, too: It’s going to fill you up. This waffle is super dense, so just keep that in mind when you’re ordering. Whether you’re getting your kid a sweet treat or just want to try something indulgent yourself, the chocolate chip waffle is the way to go.

2. Sausage, egg, and cheese hash brown bowl

Sausage, egg, and cheese hash brown bowl

What happens when you take a ton of delicious ingredients and mix them all together? Breakfast heaven, of course. That’s certainly true when you dig into a sausage, egg, and cheese hash brown bowl from Waffle House. While all of these different elements taste good on their own, they’re taken to a whole new level when they’re all mixed together in one bowl. First, there’s a thick layer of hash browns that provide more than enough carbs for a meal. Then comes the melted cheese. While we don’t love the American cheese in a lot of other dishes, it’s pretty good here. Then, scrambled eggs and sausage are piled on top to create a mountain of breakfast goodness.

Bowls of all kinds are all the rage right now, but very rarely do you see a bowl filled with these types of ingredients. No, there’s no avocado, bean sprouts, or raw fish, and you’re certainly not going to see a shred of kale in this kind of bowl. But if you’re looking for something a little indulgent, a little heavy, and a lot filling, this might just be the thing for you.

Oh, and if you don’t like sausage, you can also get this same bowl with bacon or ham instead. There’s even a build-your-own-bowl option. Your choices really are endless.

1. All-Star Special

All-Star Special

Finally, the breakfast to rule all breakfasts: the All-Star Special. If you know anything at all about Waffle House, then you probably know about the All-Star Special. It’s gained a bit of a cult following, and it’s not hard to see why. This is the ultimate late-night feasting food, as it comes with a little bit of pretty much everything else on the menu. We’re going to warn you here: This breakfast is not for the faint of heart. It’s going to fill you up big time and when you’re done, you may not want to eat for the rest of the day. But is it worth it? Absolutely.

When you order the All-Star Special, you’ll start off with a waffle of your choice (of course, we would have to choose the chocolate chip option). Then, you add in a plate of protein — you can choose between sausage or bacon. Finally, add in the main breakfast plate that boasts eggs, toast, and a side of your choice. Most people get either grits or hash browns here (feel free to get whatever you want on your hash browns, too, as you don’t have to stick with the plain stuff).

Does this sound like a lot of food? Yes. Is it actually a lot of food? Definitely. But if you’re super hungry (or you’re not afraid of having leftovers), it’s definitely the way to go anytime you visit Waffle House. It’s our favorite order, and it might become yours too.