Serious Eats: Drinks

Hangover Helper: Waffle House Hash Browns

[Photographs: Hawk Krall]

Whether you're nursing a horrible hangover, driving down I-95 at four in the morning, or looking for somewhere to get married, Waffle House always seems to hit the spot. Regional restaurant chains tend to develop a cult status, but can be a huge letdown when you realize the food is just the same cheap junk you find everywhere.

I don't know if it's the beautifully simple design scheme, the psuedo truck stop atmosphere, the food, or all of the above, but Waffle House is actually all that it's cracked up to be.

Strangely enough, when I hit Waffle House the last thing on my mind is waffles—I'm there for the hash browns. In a golden brown hockey puck form next to some eggs, or in any number of bewildering sizes and combinations. The uniform ribbons of potato are usually browned perfectly on one side and not at all on the other, then mixed together if you're going with a plate rather than a puck.

I ordered mine "smothered, covered and diced" (onions, tomatoes, cheese) but you can also have your hash browns "chunked" (ham), "peppered" (jalapenos), "capped" (mushrooms), "topped" (slathered in chili) and/or "country" (drowning in sausage gravy). I'm thinking a "We Try Every Combination of Hash Browns at Waffle House" post might be in order.

My favorite thing about the menu—especially during a hangover situation, when you always want everything—is the endless ordering possibilities. You can order a meal of eggs, waffles, meat, biscuits, gravy, hash browns, juice and coffee for a set price, or go "a la carte" with triple hash browns "all the way" and a chili cheeseburger with a slab of "city ham" on the side. Then maybe some biscuits and gravy, and a slice of pecan pie for dessert. Don't worry about the price, since everything on the menu hovers around $1.85.

Waffle House

1600 locations across the country (mostly in the South)
wafflehouse.com

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