Deep-Fried Romance: Candlelit Valentine’s Day Dinners at Waffle House, White Castle

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Nothing says romance like Waffle House.

The Waffle House and White Castle are each well-known for a few things. One is famous for hash browns that are “scattered and smothered,” the other sells sliders in 30-pack “Crave Cases.” One is proudly beloved by rednecks and sung about in country songs, the other favored by stoners and rapped about by the likes of the Beastie Boys. Many a college student can recall going to one of these chains when they were drunk, the other while hung over. Neither is known for a remotely romantic atmosphere. But both blue-collar roadside institutions are welcoming couples for fancy dinners this Valentine’s Day. Tablecloths and everything!

This year, dozens of Waffle House locations are hosting romantic reservations-only dinners on Valentine’s Day. A restaurant spokesperson tells a TV station in Georgia that diners should expect a first-class experience:

“It will have tablecloths,” said Waffle House Area Director Chris Parrott. “It will have alcohol-free champagne. The lighting will be dimmer. It will be cloth napkins instead of paper. The atmosphere will be more of 5-star sit-down and less fast production waffle house.”

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The dinner menu will be a special one, including ribeye and eggs and porkchop dinners. (Clarification: Those are two different meals—all of that doesn’t come on one plate. At least not normally.) The menu will be limited, but Parrott says the food is only part of the special night. “It is more about the atmosphere,” he says.

Reservations are limited, and supposedly filling up fast at some Waffle Houses. (Check out the list of participating locations here.)

A select few Waffle Houses have offered a special Valentine’s dinner over the past few years, but this year, several dozen Waffle Houses are playing along. As you might imagine, participants are mainly in the South (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina), but it’s also possible to have a Waffle House Valentine’s dinner with your sweetie in states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

(MORE: What NOT to Buy for Valentine’s Day)

White Castle, meanwhile, has been offering special Valentine’s Day dinners for several years now. Make a reservation for a “Hot & Steamy” dinner this year and a free dessert (chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick!) is included in the meal. The setting—tableside service, candles, fresh-cut flowers in a collapsible vase that’s yours to keep, and that ever-present aroma of steam-grilled burgers and onions—is also included at no extra charge.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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