“Oh, it’s definitely an advantage,” Carolina Panthers defensive end Mario Addison tells the Wall Street Journal regarding his secret-weapon restaurant chain, Waffle House. The regional Southern chain—adored by everyone from Anthony Bourdain to DJ Khaled—provides NFL players, who tend to keep atypical hours, with breakfast food 24 hours a day. Additionally, the WSJ notes that football players need to “consume a lot of calories very quickly,” which is easy to do at a restaurant that serves smothered hash browns, pecan waffles, and other hearty breakfast staples for cheap.
And it isn’t just Addison who’s addicted to Waffle House, it’s pretty much the whole team. The Panthers’ safety, Tre Boston, tells the WSJ that he visits Waffle House about “two times a week.” Then there’s this extraordinary video—filmed two years ago during training camp—of several Panthers, including Carolina fullback Mike Zordich, in the middle of Waffle House singing “Just My Imagination” by The Temptations. Now that right there looks like an excellent team-bonding exercise.
It’s not just the Panthers that have go-to restaurant and bar hangouts. Several years ago, the Knicks notoriously hung out around NYC’s craziest nightclubs. Meanwhile, down in Tampa, the Buccaneers frequently hit up Bern’s and 717 South, and while playing for the Dallas Cowboys , Troy Aikman and Reggie Bush were fans of Nick & Sam’s.