Pregame or postgame, Saturday night or Sunday morning, everyone has his or her own special time when Waffle House is the only thing in life that matters.
Because of its numerous locations in the south, whether all over Atlanta or in college towns throughout the SEC, the association between Waffle House and college football has become as intertwined as the eggs and hash browns on the plate in the All-Star Special.
“SEC country is waffle country,” writes Dave Wilson in an excellent story for ESPN, which can be read in its entirety here.
There are 1,900 Waffle House restaurants in 25 states in America, a whopping 350 of which are in and around Atlanta. Ninety-five are scattered — and smothered — across 12 of the SEC’s 14 schools. Only Ole Miss and recent conference newcomer Texas A&M miss out on the greasy glory.
“We have a lot of great fans there that love Waffle House, but we’ll get there eventually,” said company spokesman Pat Warner.
SEC football fans and even coaches have built Waffle House into their own traditions on game days.
After waiting in line just like every other patron, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn celebrates Auburn wins at a local Waffle House on the Plains. Georgia fans and former students Trevor Daniel and Patrick Ward spent their game-day mornings in Athens at Waffle House, where Bulldogs memorabilia and murals line the walls of the restaurants. That tradition didn’t stop during trips to other SEC landmarks.
“I’ve been to Waffle House in Tuscaloosa. I’ve been to Waffle House in Auburn,” Ward said while sporting a Nick Chubb jersey. ”They’re the same. They’re always welcoming.”
Daniel and Ward’s friend and fellow Georgia fan Nick Oshinski summed up how important the restaurant is to them.
“I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who didn’t eat Waffle House,” he said.
And even on the days when your team doesn’t put on a great performance on the field, Waffle House can be a saving grace.
Ole Miss juniors Destiny Jamison and Gabreena Ruff drove five hours to Auburn to watch their Rebels play the Tigers. They left at halftime, Auburn having jumped out to a giant 35-3 lead. “They decided they needed something to make the trip worthwhile. They needed to get something they couldn’t get back in Oxford.”
“Just come to Waffle House,” Jamison says. ”It’ll make it better.”