While it might seem simple to find food while driving down the Interstate, in my case the options are few, since I am vegetarian. At the moment I am traveling down I-20 in western South Carolina, examining the restaurant options at each exit, hoping beyond hope for something other than a diner, a buffet, or fast food. Around Columbia, the capitol of South Carolina, I spot McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Bojangles (now there’s a healthy option, with it’s butter-drenched biscuits), Popeye’s – absolutely nothing for me. A bit further along the highway the selection includes Waffle House, Perkins, KFC, Burger King, and Arby’s. Nope.
But wait! Here’s a sign in the distance that I don’t recognize. I am excited; there may actually be a restaurant that suits me in this remote pat of the Southeast. Hmmm….what does that sign say? Huddle House. Huh? Huddle House. The image conjured up by my mind is one of stooped, old homeless men in the dead of winter, bundled up in layers and layers of rags, huddled around burning trash cans to keep warm and eating scraps of food scavenged from dumpsters. Ugh! I can’t imagine how the restaurant expects to attract diners with such a distasteful name. The question is whether I am hungry enough to eat there.
In the end I can’t do it. The name “Huddle House” puts me off so much that I can’t even force myself to check it out and I end up with a McDonald’s salad. But I can’t get Huddle House out of my mind, so I whip out the laptop and look it up. Under the heading “Our Story,” I find this explanation:
“The Huddle House foundation was created in 1964 as an answer to a simple need. High school football fans in the close-knit community of Decatur, Georgia needed a warm and inviting place to ‘huddle-up’ with family and friends after Friday night games. The idea took off, and one-by-one new communities gathered at their own Huddle House for delicious comfort food and southern-style hospitality.”
The image of football players huddling is certainly better than starving homeless men, but I still find the name off-putting. However, their name is responsible for one amazing accomplishment…there isn’t much in this world that can make me eat at McDonald’s.