Thursday, December 30, 2010

Waffle House on McCain – Not all Waffle Houses are created equal.

2505 McCain Boulevard
North Little Rock

Sometimes, I just want breakfast, and I want someone else to fix it for me. I also want it to taste good, be reasonably priced and get decent service, i.e., coffee refills before I have to ask for them. Surprisingly, something this seemingly simple can be quite difficult to find these days. But not at the Waffle House on McCain in NLR.

Some weeks ago, I got up rather late and decided that I wanted breakfast. I’m sort of a fan of Waffle Houses in general (maybe it’s a character flaw, I don’t know), but they can be definitely a hit-or-miss proposition. You can go from the one on Geyer Springs in Little Rock, where I sat for fifteen minutes once and finally walked out – still unnoticed by the wait staff who, obviously, had much more important things to do that day. To the one on Rebsamen Park Road, where I thought the waitress was going to sit in my lap and chat for awhile. See what I mean?

Anyway, as I cycled through my mental Rolodex (I really am a neanderthal) of Waffle House locations, I thought I remembered one on McCain near the Kroger grocery store. Amazingly (particularly that morning), I was right, and felt very proud of myself as I pulled into their parking lot. But, due to the schizophrenic nature of the places, I wondered which one I was going to encounter: evil, aberrant Waffle House or kinder, gentler Waffle House. Luckily, it was the latter.

When I walked in, I immediately noticed that the median age of the customers seemed to be around 70ish. And, I thought that was a good sign. And, there were so many of those folks there, that some were waiting for a table. Even better. As a “one,” I decided to sit at the counter, and that was just fine.

The wait staff was friendly. They took my order reasonably quickly in light of the crush of a busy morning. And, I got my food very soon. Even cooked the way I had requested! And, what’s more, the people working there were often smiling!! Really, I’m not kidding. Not surly. Not checking their cell phones. Not irritated by your selfish intrusion into their busy personal lives. But actually smiling. What’s the matter with them?

The place had a very good, old-timey, friendly vibe. This was in December, and, if Elvis’s “Blue Christmas” had played on the non-existent jukebox, I would have thought I had been transported to an early version of “Back to the Future.” It was that good.

The food was good. The service was good. The prices were reasonable. The vibe was warm and comforting. Just a nice, diner-style, unpretentious place for breakfast distinguished, in this case, by the people who happen to work there. I think this one is a keeper.

What more could you want? Well, maybe a wider variety of choices and a similarly funky vibe, and that’s what the Frontier Diner, on I-30 near the Arkansas Highway Department offices, offers. Unfortunately, they stop serving breakfast at 10:30. But, more on that later.


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