What’s a Huddle House?
Published: July 1, 2012
What’s a Huddle House?
By Veronica MacDonald Ditko
An Accidental Anthropologist
In March, my husband and I drove all the way down to Myrtle Beach with two young children in tow. The miles and the miles passed by (!) and every so often we saw a small sign for a “huddle house” on Route 95. The sign had a nice illustration of pancakes with a golden pad of creamy butter and syrup slowly dribbling down the edges.
Did I mention I was hungry every time I saw one?
Anyway, neither of us knew what a huddle house was. And an interesting thing happened. As we brainstormed, our ideas became noticeably male and female.
I thought of a kitchen and food. I pictured a bunch of lumbermen huddling around a wood-burning stove to take a break from either cutting trees or maple sugaring on a cold winter day. Flapjacks would be cooking on top of the stove. But I noted quietly I didn’t see too many maple trees. There are tons of pines down in those parts.
My husband, the sports fanatic, immediately had visions of a football huddle. He mused that football was probably a bigger deal in South Carolina than New Jersey. We were rabid fans of “Friday Night Lights” and knew from that show that Texas is football. The same could have been true for the Carolinas.
Turns out he’s right. Huddle House is actually a nationwide chain of restaurants started in 1964. The original restaurant in Decatur, Georgia, was designed to be a gathering place on Friday nights after high school football games. The menu today offers general American food, with local specialties such as biscuits and gravy and country fried steak. Oh, and who can forget grits, the main reason I want to eat out down South!
Insert Joe Pesci quote from My Cousin Vinnie: “What’s a grit?”
Such a restaurant sounds like a nice idea. However, I notice after a soccer, lacrosse, baseball, or what have you game in Northern New Jersey, fast food restaurants and Dunkin Donuts are overrun by kids in uniform. This is probably because they are affordable. Now there’s an idea for a new local restaurant – and affordable, sit-down breakfast all day long!
Oh wait, that would be Denny’s, IHOP, and diners. Oh well, it seemed like a good idea! I’ll keep brainstorming…
Veronica MacDonald Ditko is originally from the Jersey Shore, but married and settled in northern New Jersey. Her journalism career started a decade ago after studying Psychology and Anthropology in Massachusetts. She has written for several newspapers and magazines including The Daily Hampshire Gazette, The Springfield Union News and Sunday Republican, Happi, Chemical Week, The Hawthorne Press, The Jewish Standard, Suite101.com and more.
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