Connected by an asphalt web of highways, state roads, and thoroughfares, blocky yellow signs gleam nonstop, casting a dandelion glow from the words “Waffle House.” The booths at the eateries fill 24 hours each day with the aromas of sizzling pork chops, Jimmy Dean sausage, and endless mugs of coffee. Line cooks brown shredded potatoes on a grill as waiters shout back in a language all their own for hash browns “smothered,” “covered,” or “topped”—served with onions, cheese, or chili, respectively. Angus burgers and steak melts share space on the rippling-hot surface at all times of day, allowing tired drivers to stop for food when they are on a long journey or just listening to an 11-hour drum solo on the radio. The first Waffle House switched on its lights in 1955, and some menu items still bear the names of Waffle House staff of the past, including Bert's chili from Dallas and Alice's iced tea.
The pizza at Papa Murphy’s Take 'N' Bake Pizza is always cold. Not because it's old, but because it’s so fresh that it hasn’t been cooked yet. Assembled and customized before your eyes, the colorful, unbaked disk is then taken home and thrown into your own oven. The crust crisps to exactly your preference, whether a thin crust bubbling with chicken, bacon, and artichoke, or a Chicago–style stuffed with salami, pepperoni, sausage, and ground beef. Each pizza can also be customized from scratch, with ambitious eaters choosing from 8 meats, 4 cheeses, and 15 veggie toppings. A bevy of side plates complements any meal, with crisp salads, bake-your-own cookie dough, and dessert pizzas.
Every day, Snappy Tomato Pizza’s cooks mix high-protein flour in 60-quart mixers to create the fresh dough that gives the restaurant’s pies their signature taste. They adorn each round pizza crust with mozzarella cheese, fresh vegetables, and sauce crafted from the tomatoes of select California growers. They carefully separate tomatoes by acid content, with only the best ones used for sauce and the worst ones saved to throw at any smug looking teenagers. Oven-baked hoagie sandwiches, Tyson chicken wings, and cinnabreads topped with cinnamon streusel and vanilla icing round out the full menu.
Built at the turn of the 19th century with stone bought from Abraham Lincoln’s father and situated on 650 acres of pristine woodland, this antique-filled former mill charms diners with a quaint atmosphere and a menu of comforting cuisine. For lunch, feast on the famously fulfilling fried chicken, double breaded and served with a cream gravy ($6.99), or partake in the popular Kentucky Hot Brown, an open-faced turkey-and-ham sandwich smothered in rich mornay sauce, topped with tomato and bacon and broiled to a scrumptious sizzle ($8.99).