Why Nothing Beats A Classic Southern Diner

Southern diners, where the gossip's as hot as the biscuits—and the wisdom is just gravy.

Diner Counter Top with Coffee Pot
Photo: Terry Vine/Getty Images

Sometimes, you just need to sit in a corner booth at two or three o’clock in the afternoon and have a good breakfast. And I’m not talking about a hangover breakfast—I’m too old for that foolishness. No, I’m talking about on a Tuesday.

I’m a late sleeper; nothing good has ever happened to me before noon. If the phone rings, it’s bad news or a telemarketer in Sri Lanka apprising me of my car warranty. If my alarm goes off, it means heading to the Atlanta airport or traveling somewhere on I-59 or going to doctors. Just about all surgeries occur in the gray dawn. I had a kidney stone retrieval once at 7 a.m., which was just mean. I might even have more religion if it weren’t for the timing; I spoke at a prayer breakfast once and am still largely unaware of what I said.

So I finally decided to just write off mornings. If I wake up at 11:59 a.m., I go back to bed. A lot of misery could happen between then and 12. But after a while, I did get to missing breakfast.

Thank you, Huddle House, for setting my world back to spinning once more.

I can’t speak for all outposts, but the one in Jacksonville, Alabama, is a reason to live. It’s not just the fact that you can get a fine Western omelet as the sun begins its downhill slide, that a pot of grits is always bubbling, or that sausage gravy is considered an acceptable accoutrement to a chef’s salad. It’s that all of this exists in a wider time warp. You hear a lot of philosophy here (one bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit at a time) and glean plenty of wisdom too.

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