If you got to take Jesus to lunch, where would you go? WWJD? Where would Jesus dine? If you went to a fancy restaurant, Jesus might think you were showing off. A hamburger place could indicate a lack of appreciation. You should take Jesus to Waffle House. Waffle House does good things for your soul.
Everybody is welcome-young and old, good and bad, upper crust and bottom dweller. Waffle Houses are filled with drunks, drag queens, police officers, truckers, high school students who like calling it "Wa-Ho," college students studying in the middle of the night-"Keep the coffee coming," and hipsters tweeting #hashbrowns. They don't sell beer so my mother likes it. It's open on holidays when everything else is closed. Do they even have locks on the doors?
Waffle House feels like Waffle Home. Eating there is like eating in the kitchen-nothing pretentious. The vinyl booths are comfy and well-worn. The laminated menus are as colorful as the characters who keep the juke box playing.
In the movie Tin Cup Kevin Costner's Roy McAvoy says, "I'm a Waffle House guy, you gotta stay in touch with that."
His caddy Romeo adds, "Plus he needs his carbohydrates."
In over 1700 locations in 25 states as far north as Ohio and as far west as Arizona, people tell their stories of despair and hope. They laugh at Waffle House more than other restaurants. Busy folks come to slow down. Weary people come to be renewed. Couples fall in love at Waffle House, but are often too shy to say so. Not a lot of judgment goes on at Waffle House.
Waffle House serves hearty, authentic, real food. If you ask for quiche Lorraine the waitress will laugh. No crepes, no croissants, no French pastries, no Parisien eggs benedict, no espresso, no yogurt parfait, no tofu, no sushi. Instead of reduced fat fare, Waffle House serves butter, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips. Instead of flavor-gutted lite, they offer tasty, scrumptious, and delectable. Filling a waffle's indentations with maple syrup is the prelude to the music of delicious goodness.
All the food is comfort food. Hash brown potatoes are more than a side dish. They come "scattered" (spread on the grill), "smothered" (with sautéed onions), "covered" (with melted cheese), "chunked" (with diced ham), "diced" (with grilled tomatoes), "peppered" (with jalapeños), "capped" (with mushrooms), "topped" (with chili) and "all the way" (recommended for only the most courageous).
Jesus spent a lot of time at the Waffle House in Nazareth. Joanna, the waitress, knew how to pour a cup of kindness. She was chemist enough to recognize how much NaCl is just enough, gymnast enough to balance three plates on each arm, psychologist enough to land "Do you want more coffee, honey?" between topics of conversation, and mathematician enough to figure out when the tip seemed a little on the cheap side.
Simon Peter loved Waffle House because they didn't serve fish.
Martha went when she didn't want to worry about the dishes. John the Baptist didn't eat out much, but when he did he went to Waffle House for something tastier than his normal fare.
The Syrophoenician woman brought her daughter for the dollar hamburgers. When the widow gave her two mites at the temple she thought she was giving up her daily sausage biscuit, but Joanna gave it to her no charge. The first time Bartimaeus came in after he could see Joanna was afraid he might be disappointed when he saw her for the first time, but Bart broke into a grin and hugged her, "You're even more beautiful than I imagined."
Nicodemus liked to go late at night. When Lazarus was brought back to life he said, "Four days without Wattle House is too long." Imagine how much better it would have been for the rich fool if instead of building barns he had bought a Waffle House.
Some ancient manuscripts tell of Jesus saying to the paralytic, "Stand up, take your bed, and go to Waffle House."
The Pharisees almost asked, "Why does Jesus eat with tax collectors and sinners at Waffle House?"
The Sadducees wouldn't trust a $4 dollar breakfast, but Jesus did.
Waffle House feels like a church fellowship hall on Wednesday night. The tables are filled with the poor in spirit, those who mourn, and the merciful. Like the best churches, Waffle House caters to those who hunger and thirst for goodness. Toast and coffee tastes a little like communion. Every supper is, in some ways, the Lord's Supper. Every shared meal is a foretaste of glory divine, the hors d'ouevres, and the appetizer for heaven's banquet.