By MARG JACKSON
209 Staff Reporter
Early mornings in Escalon, you can expect to see a crowd at the Waffle Factory. The ‘regulars’ are there at their usual spots, drinking coffee, talking shop and, occasionally, giving the waitresses a hard time.
But Roxanne Rodriguez wouldn’t have it any other way.
The longtime waitress/manager at the 2253 Jackson St. eatery (along Highway 120 at the east end of town) in the Escalon Center, said the regulars always put a smile on her face.
“We have the farmers that come in every morning, they drink their coffee and bicker back and forth,” she said, smiling. “On weekends, we are packed.
“We all love it, though, it’s like family,” Roxanne added of greeting familiar faces every day. “Our motto is ‘We know you by name, we treat you like family’ and we know what our regulars eat, what they like.”
Now in their seventh year at the location, it truly is a family operation with dad Jerry Rodriguez the owner, Roxanne one of the waitresses and three of her brothers also involved. Older brother Jared does some of the cooking and helps manage the restaurant with Roxanne, while two younger brothers also assist, one on weekends and one coming in after school to help with clean up and getting ready for the next day’s business.
Hours are Monday through Saturday, 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“The farmers and ranchers would like us to open even earlier,” Roxanne said, adding that 5:30 a.m. seems early enough for her. “Some days when I get here, there are already four or five cars here.”
Breakfast dishes range from their Waffle House Combo to traditional biscuits and gravy. There are also Belgian waffles, a selection of ‘Proud American Breakfast’ entrées and ‘Sizzling Skillets.’
“Best-sellers are probably a tie, between our country fried steak and our combo, plus our biscuits and gravy, they are all homemade,” Roxanne said.
The popular Waffle House Combo features a Jumbo waffle, two eggs and four strips of bacon or two sausage patties.
Open for breakfast and lunch, the business is usually hopping in the early morning hours, then slows down a bit just ahead of another rush for lunch. Call-in orders are frequent, with the eatery conveniently located to almost everywhere in town. The Waffle Factory can be reached at 209-838-8888.
“I love the Waffle Factory,” agreed local businesswoman Terry Gannon. “It’s nice to be able to call in, then just come and get it.”
Regular Rodney Peters shared a smile with Roxanne on a recent day as she took his order.
“I’m not a fast food person,” Peters said, noting that he favors the small, locally owned ‘mom and pop operation’ restaurants to any type of chain. “And the price is right. For lunch I have a hamburger or a patty melt; when I come in the morning, I’ll have a waffle at 7 a.m.”
Cash and local checks only are accepted, but there is also an ATM machine on site.
The small restaurant is tucked in a corner of the Escalon Center that features several other businesses. The restaurant is convenient both for locals and passing motorists.
“I love it when people come in on the weekends,” added Roxanne. “We have to save their table while they make the rounds, visiting with everyone else.”