If you know me, you probably already know how much I love breakfast, especially when it’s not breakfast time.
Where I grew up, outside of Atlanta, there was a Waffle House (WaHo) on almost every corner. After high school football games, my friends and I all piled into a car and headed to WaHo around midnight: the best time to eat waffles. Add a cherry coke (with extra cherry syrup) and a slice of apple pie and you’ll have my Friday night high school special. Ah, to have a 17-year-old’s metabolism.
When I visited UNC-Chapel Hill for the first time as a prospective student, I had a meeting set up with the Dean of the Honors College. I thought we’d meet in his office, he’d ask me questions, I’d ask him some. Instead, my dad and I had brunch with him at Ye Olde.
Ye Olde changed my perspective on waffles forever, and for that I am eternally grateful. A Chapel Hill staple since 1972, Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe is Waffle House’s younger brother, with local ingredients and heartier food.
Ye Olde was one of my first Chapel Hill memories as a student. It’s another place where I shared meals with my father who also loved breakfast. Usually, breakfast for him meant a peanut butter sandwich (only one slice of bread with lots of peanut butter, folded in half), a glass of orange juice and a glass of milk. At Ye Olde, he’d mix it up and order scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, with his usual glasses of orange juice and milk.
It had been a while since I ate at Ye Olde, but on Sunday I knew the perfect place to catch up with a friend. It had been 70 degrees all week (in March!), but Sunday it was snowing in Chapel Hill. A white layer of frost covered my coat as I made my way down Franklin Street to the familiar black and white awning.
My friend and I both got the waffle combos. Plain waffles, one egg any style and bacon or sausage. I subbed the meat for the DELICIOUS hash browns because there’s really nothing like shredded-style hash browns. I’ll take them over sad “home fries” or potato pancakes any day.
With snow flurries out the window and butter melting into my hot, powdered sugar dusted, perfectly fluffy and crispy waffle, I was reminded why I came to this magical college town.
As the wise Leslie Knope once said, “Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?”
YE OLDE WAFFLE SHOPPE: 173 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, (919) 929-9192, yeoldewaffleshoppe.com. Open Mon – Fri 7 am – 1:30 pm, Sat – Sun 8 am – 2 pm. $. Five dollar minimum for credit cards.