Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Restaurant review: The Waffle Hut, So Bad It's Good

The Waffle Hut in Flatwoods has a lot of characters.

Yeah, that’s not a typo.

We visited twice this fall when we stayed in Flatwoods for a conference. Our first impression was marked by a guy on the phone who sounded like an amateur lawyer. He sat at the lunch counter in the lobby area in front of a coffee cup and a newspaper that I would’ve assumed was a racing form if we hadn’t been hundreds of miles from a racetrack. “That is illegal. I’m telling you that is illegal. Now calm down. Calm down! Listen to me. The cops cannot touch you first. It is illegal for them to put their hands on her first. They cannot lay one finger on her. Now I said calm down!”

It’s dim in the restaurant even when the sun is shining brightly outside. The dark wood paneling and booths suck up the light from yellowed lightshades of lamps resembling old gas lanterns on some walls and hanging from the exposed-beam vaulted ceiling in the main dining room. The wallpaper in the lobby I’m sure I’ve seen on my grandparents’ kitchen walls years 30 years ago. The silverware is wrapped in a paper napkin and slipped into plastic sleeves like an old-time cafeteria.

For a late dinner one night we had breakfast: cinnamon-scented French toast, $3.75; sausage, $2; perfectly crisp bacon, $2; Belgian waffle, $3.75; and three pancakes with bacon, $3.

A tough waitress took our order; a quirky one delivered it, calling it “Frenchie" toast and "pancakies."

Bottomless drinks for $1 are unheard-of anymore. I paid $1.99 for a drink with free refills the other day. The food portions are large. Children can get a meal of chicken nuggets or a hot dog with fries and coleslaw, cottage cheese or applesauce for $3.25.

While we waited for our meal the “lawyer” left but we were entertained by a man who had had too much to drink. He kept losing his way back to his table from the bathroom and his friends had to keep steering him -- but not before he fell into our booth.

We returned the next day for lunch on our way home and had the much-renowned Honey-Dipt Chicken for $5.50. It came with a salad, fries, coleslaw or applesauce or cottage cheese and rolls. A fruit fly came too and would not leave; it was off-putting. The honey batter on the chicken was thin and crackly and nothing to crave. The chicken seemed spindly, not meaty. The waitress was especially surly. And we bothered her for dessert, which was not worth remembering.

We will go back when we’re in the area again and we will order breakfast, which is served all day. It’s a dive but it grows on you. William and Shirley Squires own the Waffle Hut and there’s not another one like it – I can say with relief.

1 comment:

Serafina said...

Now I have to go there! Greasy spoons are the most fun you can have on a road trip.

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