Tour Guides from Hell

Guest Blog: Five Reasons Why WAFFLEHOUSE is Battlecross’s Tour Church (and Should be Yours Too)

Background artwork by Thibault Fischer
Background artwork by Thibault Fischer

Battlecross are road warriors through and through — they’ve been criss-crossing the country since signing with Metal Blade Records in 2010 with the likes of Goatwhore, Origin, Lamb of God, Mastodon and many, many more — so they know a thing or two about traveling. They also know a thing or five about Wafflehouse, America’s favorite place to get fat. Below, bassist Don Slater tells you why the national breakfast chain is so near and dear to his — and Battlecross’s — heart. 

Battlecross’s new album Rise to Power comes out on August 21st via Metal Blade. Listen to the debut single “Slave” right here, and pre-order the album here

There’s a little place you can find near any truck stop in several (if not all) of the through-states in the U.S. of A. It’s got a yellow roof, the plain yet vibrant towering beacon of a sign visible from at least a mile away, written in big block letters, unmistakeable from any other food franchise. Often times in the seediest locales, rife with budget hotels, cheap Chinese buffets and liquor stores fashioned not unlike plastic bomb shelters. If you’re a touring musician or one who enjoys a road trip now and then you’ve most likely eaten at a Wafflehouse, for better or worse. However, being a native to Michigan, these little beauties are a delicacy to me. Allow me to tell you why I actively seek out these culinary catastrophes while on tour.

1. Breakfast All Day, Every Day

Surely, there are plenty of chain restaurants that serve breakfast all day, but the food is hit or miss, and breakfast for a group of five or more will most likely irritate the one cook on duty at 2:30am that Tuesday morning. You’re limited to your options when about to embark on a nine hour journey to the next venue and your stomach rumbles for something other than greasy burgers or oatmeal-enriched burritos. Sometimes you simply want a big ol’ plate of smash-fried hash browns tossed with various veggies and meats of your choosing. Seems like the perfect segue to bring you to number two on the list, which would be:

2. The Menu

The simplicity of the options you are given, simple and direct on a reversible, laminated single placemat, is completely by design. Aside from the restaurant’s namesake, you can order anything from the All Star Special (my personal favorite) to a steak and cheese with fries. The waffles are delicious by themselves or doused with butter and maple syrup, though you may add anything you like, ranging from double chocolate chip and peanut butter to various berries. The hash browns alone are also of note, since you’re able to order them with a slew of toppings (all of which are given cute pet names) like ham, peppers, onions, cheese, even sausage gravy or chili! Tasty, yes, but after a hard-hitting gig, I stick with my tried and true All Star Special. Too many calories to count, the ASS (yep) includes two eggs, choice of bacon or sausage, hash browns or grits, toast, and of course a waffle. What better way to celebrate a good show and replace energy lost than with enough greasy food to clog an artery and send your intestines into a raging fit of greasy farts and cramps? I can’t think of one.

3. The Employees

I’m a people watcher. I like to just watch people go about their lives, not necessarily judging but observing. And what better way to do that than while folks are either taking orders from obnoxious drunks or slaving away over a hot griddle while waitresses bark orders at them in the Wafflehouse vernacular? Ok, maybe RenFest has Wafflehouse beat, but this is a good spot nonetheless. You’ll meet America’s finest in these greasy spoons, complete with accents and sass. The cooks, bless their hearts, look about two fucks away from snapping and splashing hot grease on everyone, cutting jugulars with their heated spatulas. Treat them right and give them a smile (keep it modest; don’t patronize), and you’ll end up with the best double peanut butter waffle ever.

4. The Environment

Not much is to be said about the interior of a Wafflehouse. A rather sterile environment, there isn’t much to please the eye or give the instant “WOW!” factor like Dave and Buster’s or overly enthusiastic Denny’s. Nah, just pop a squat, eyeball the menu and eat. Plain and simple, just how I like it. No noise, no super-giddy waitress to tell you how wonderful the day has been or what ultra-fantastic menu item is featured this month. Nope. You sit. You order. You eat. You pay. You leave. PERFECTION.

5. The Experience

Anyone who has frequented a Wafflehouse at least a trio of times in the wee hours of the morning has had AN EXPERIENCE. Be it drunken or not, if you weren’t drunk, someone else there was, and boy, was it a hoot. I’ve witnessed fights — be it patron vs. patron, waitress vs. patron, patron vs. cook, cook vs. waitress, cook vs. cook, cook vs. toaster — it is what it is, and I’d trade it for nothing.

I suppose this doesn’t fit the usual Tour Guides from Hell guideline, but if I were your tour guide I’d take you to one of these fine establishments lickety-split. Touring is late night greasy spoons. Road life is full of bad decisions, but it’s a journey seldom forgotten, so might as well spend it at one of the USA’s best and worst ideas ever: WAFFLEHOUSE! Amen.

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