In More Ways Than One, Waffle House Is A Cultural And Musical Icon

If you didn't grow up in the Southern part of the United States, the allure of Waffle House might be lost on you. But for those of us who seem to stumble upon one of the iconic yellow signs every other mile or so, it's not hard to understand how the chain has acquired something of a cult following in the nearly 70 years since the original Waffle House opening. Its reputation for being a place where anything can happen has even inspired a slew of memes, like one about a Waffle House waitress pulling a gun on robbers. A Twitter user (and Waffle House fan) responded to the news report by saying, "This is why I eat here. I feel safe."

While the excitement of being kept on your toes is often what gets people talking about Waffle House, it's the lack of pretentiousness that seems to keep people coming back. The band Hootie and Blowfish — formed in South Carolina — even named their 2000 cover album "Scattered, Smothered, and Covered," in a nod to the preparation of Waffle House's famous hash browns. Because whether you're at a location in the deep South or off the interstate in Colorado, the only thing separating guests is how you take your breakfast potatoes. It's that level of accessibility, perhaps, that has turned the breakfast chain into something of a musical and cultural icon, as artists seek to connect their work with working-class folks and, oftentimes, their very own roots.

Waffle House is featured in plenty of music

With its low prices, consistently tasty food, and no-frills decor, Waffle House was established with the aim of "providing the friendliest service in town." Succeeding in this mission, Waffle House has become known as a place to congregate in many communities. In the Coast 2 Coast remix of his song "Welcome to Atlanta," Jermaine Dupri raps alongside heavy hitters P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg, and Ludacris. In the video, Dupri is filmed dancing in the Waffle House parking lot, singing, "After the party, it's the Waffle House/If you ever been here, you know what I'm talkin' about," proving Waffle House's well-established position as a gathering place within the community. 


Waffle House is finally yours 💛 There are few things more fulfilling as artists than seeing your fans live with your music and our hope is that this song not only helps get you through challenging times, but also brings you together with the ones you love most. #newmusic

♬ Waffle House – Jonas Brothers

Before the 2023 release of their sixth studio album, "The Album", the Jonas Brothers unleashed a hit single from the tracklist entitled, "Waffle House." During a radio interview with Z100NewYork, Joe Jonas said, "Waffle House, it's more of an idea of a place that we can go to that's our comfort place," explaining why the brothers chose it as the inspiration for the synth-pop smash about coming together (per American Songwriter).

Waffle House is iconic in pop culture

While Waffle House has certainly secured its legacy in music history, it has acted as a muse for creators involved in many different mediums. Waffle House's iconic aesthetic has been featured in scenes from movies like "ATL," "Love Simon," "Due Date," and "The Mule." In 2019, Micah Cash published a photography book called "Waffle House Vistas" in which he captured the view from the windows of over 125 different Waffle Houses across the nation. It was his attempt at understanding the harsh realities Americans were facing as a result of our political and economic climate — and what better place to see that than from the booth of a Waffle House, he thought.

In the sixth season of his award-winning show "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown", Bourdain got to experience the magic of Waffle House thanks to South Carolina chef Sean Brock, even claiming that it was "better than the French Laundry," a three-Michelin star restaurant in California (per Salon). In one of his famous narrated overlays, Bourdain describes Waffle House as "an irony-free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts."