Follow TV Tropes


Hash House Lingo

Go To
"And I'll have a Prince of Sturmhalten's' Big Bet!"note 
Server: Three pork combos, extra bacon on the side, two chili cheese samplers, a basket of liver and onion rings, a catch of the day, and a steak cut in the shape of a trout. You got all that, honey?
Kronk: Three oinkers wearing pants, plate of hot air, basket of Grandma's breakfast, and change the bull to a gill, got it.

A Rule of Funny trope. A scene takes place in a restaurant, the waitress takes the diners' orders, and after taking their menus, she calls toward the kitchen something that sounds like utter gibberish. Brooklyn accents are typical of these scenes, as is some misfortune happening to Adam and Eve, which is near-universal as code for describing the endless ways to cook two eggs.

There is some Truth in Television to this. Waiters can and will use wacky names as mnemonic devices, and customers use slang for the convenience (like in many other transactions).

There is a reason this is associated with roadside diners: unlike places in towns or cities where the staff turnover would be relatively high, diners located on long interstates would tend to keep the same staff for many years. After a decade of operating a place, every possible order can be an in-joke that the entire staff would be privy to.

Common in, but not exclusive to, the Greasy Spoon. May contain Lampshade Hanging as to the nature of the food. Not to be confused with Hash(ish) House Lingo, though it might be. Very rarely, may be Played for Drama by combining it with Trouble Entendre. Compare with Sommelier Speak, a type of jargon used to describe the flavor of wines.


    open/close all folders 

  • A radio commercial for Wash-N-Dri (a cleaning towelette in a small package) had a customer placing a chicken-with-the-works to-go order to a restaurant waitress who asks for numerous specifics. At the end, after the customer (who is getting flustered over making so many decisions) says he wants the Wash-N-Dri, the waitress calls out to the kitchen "One bird, loaded! And a soap-and-water to go!"

  • In this Garfield strip, Jon asks for a well-done hamburger with extra onions. Irma then turns to the kitchen and yells "YO TONY! BURN A COW, AND MAKE HER CRY!" which causes Jon and Garfield to lose their appetites.
  • One story arc in Gasoline Alley involved Slim filling in for the regular cook at the local diner, and being unfamiliar with this slang.
  • The 12th issue of Cartoon Cartoons (one of several comic book adaptations of Cartoon Network shows published by DC Comics at the time) had a Johnny Bravo story titled "To Sea or Not to Sea?", where Johnny attempted to court a teacher while assisting her on a field trip. At one point, the teacher faints while commenting that Johnny had garlic for lunch, causing him to say "Aw, man! Is that why they call it a vampire killer with cheese?"
  • A MAD strip by Don Martin features several waitreses placing and receiving orders in this fashion, followed by a guy demanding of the cook "Where's the men's room, mac? Gotta go and no foolin'", which is mistaken for another order.
    • It is not entirely clear, but the last panel indicates that the customer actually WAS making an order, and the cook got it right!
  • One Zits strip features Jeremy and his dad at a pizza parlor where this lingo is used:
    Jeremy: I'll have a slice with pepperoni, ham, sausage, hamburger, salami and bacon.
    Cashier: (to the back) ONE SLAUGHTERHOUSE WITH EVERYTHING! (to Walt) And for you, sir?
    Walt: (resigned) Gimme one with oatmeal and Lipitor.
    Cashier: (to the back) ... AND A BABY BOOMER WITH EXTRA CAUTION!

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Mudka's Meat Hut, the Greasy Spoon diner located in a generic South American jungle.
    • The waitress turns an order of "two specials and an onion ring log" into "Ordering! Two heart-burns and a deep-fried doorstop".
    • Then, when Kronk takes over for the cook, she gives him a rapid-fire list of normal orders, and he pauses for a beat before confirming in jargon.
      Waitress: Ordering! Three pork combos, extra bacon on the side, two chili cheese samplers, a basket of liver and onion rings, a catch of the day, and a steak cut in the shape of a trout. You got all that, honey?
      Kronk: Three oinkers wearing pants, plate of hot air, basket of Grandma's breakfast and change the bull to a gill, got it.note 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Airplane! gets in one, when Captain Oveur is conversing with the Mayo clinic.
    Operator: Excuse me, Captain Oveur, but I have an emergency call on line five from a Mr. Hamm.
    Captain Oveur: Alright, give me a Hamm on five, hold the Mayo.
  • Heat features bursts of Hash House Lingo in the diner where Breeden is slaving when McCauley offers him a job as getaway driver. McCauley makes the new order $12 million to go!
  • In The Muppets Take Manhattan, Yolanda Rat puts an order up in the diner window: "two zeroes on a trampoline with a side of Joan of Arc", i.e. two sunny-side up eggs on toast with a side of steak fries.
  • In Pulp Fiction, the retro Malt Shop Jackrabbit Slim's uses hash house lingo in its menu. Mia orders her milkshake "Martin and Lewis" rather than "Amos and Andy" (vanilla rather than chocolate). Meat is ordered either "burnt to a crisp" (well done) or "bloody as hell" (rare).
  • In the movie Straight Talk Dolly Parton moves from the rural Midwest to Chicago to start a new life. At a downtown Chicago diner she orders a full breakfast plate of eggs, bacon, and the like. The waitress then turns to the kitchen and yells "One big spender!"
  • In The Three Stooges short "Playing the Ponies", when someone orders two eggs on toast Moe shouts to Curly the cook "Adam and Eve on a raft!" — followed by "And wreck 'em!" after the customer clarifies that he wants the eggs scrambled rather than fried. That customer asked for an hot dog earlier — which Moe called out as "one bow-wow!" — but changed his mind once he saw Curly chase after a dog.
  • Older Than Television: In the Fatty Arbuckle short The Waiters' Ball, a customer asks for pork and beans, and the waiter shouts to Fatty to make "One grunt with a thousand on a plate!".
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie orders "scotch on the rocks" from a Toon waiter, realizes whom he's addressing and corrects it to, "And I mean ice!", but they apparently can't resist the gag or didn't hear him — the glass that arrives has ice and one rock in it.

  • Arthur's Christmas features Arthur overhearing a Mall Santa's deli order as "catch a fish, hit it with rye, and put a pair of shoes on it!" and (being eight and all) taking it literally as what the real Santa Claus likes to eat.
  • The Frank and Ernest picture books (nothing to do with the comic strip) are about an anthropomorphic elephant and bear encountering the colorful argot of various professions. The first book is about diner-speak.
  • In the Katie Kazoo book Out to Lunch, the lunch ladies use diner-speak in the cafeteria kitchen.
  • A chapter of the first Odd Thomas book details Odd's normal work day at the diner he works at. The only thing that isn't diner lingo is an order for hash browns.
  • Colonel Cyrus in The Virginian translates our hero's plain English order for a steak and eggs: "One slaughter in the pan, and let the blood drip!"
  • Prevalent in one of The Ultra Violets's hang-outs, Tom's Diner. Butterbeer, for example, is called the "Harry Classic".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Discussed in an episode of The Cosby Show with two former diner waitresses quizzing each other on the slang for various orders.
  • In an episode of Dharma & Greg, the eponymous couple start talking like this (especially Dharma) when they have to pretend to be the temporary staff of a diner (and relatives of the owners) in order to avoid being arrested for breaking and entering. Again, It Makes Sense in Context.
  • In one episode of Frasier, Niles orders a decaf latte with skimmed milk at Cafe Nervosa, and the barrista calls out "One gutless wonder!"note 
  • On Friends Monica is dubious that Phoebe can be a waitress. Phoebe gives the following demonstration of her abilities, too bad they're working at a cocktail party that doesn't really require this kind of lingo:
    Phoebe: I can be a waitress. Okay, watch this. Um, gimme two number ones, 86 the bacon, one Adam and Eve on a raft and wreck 'em, la-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la.
  • One episode of Gilmore Girls has Lorelai stepping in when Luke is indisposed. Lorelai being Lorelai, that comes complete with diner speak (and insisting that customers order certain things because she thinks the diner-speak for them is funny).
  • An episode of I Love Lucy has the Ricardos and the Mertzes going into the diner business together. Fred and Ethel have previous experience and are able to talk this way, but Ricky and Lucy are terrible at it.
    Lucy: The next time you want a hamburger without onions, ask for a hamburger without onions! Don't just stand there yelling, "Bring the bull in the ring and laugh in his face!"
  • Once on The Jeffersons, Tom Willis ordered a drink "on the rocks. And hold the ice".
  • In an episode of L.A. 7 Jo gets a job at a diner but almost gets fired when the customers insist on speaking in lingo like this and Jo, being British and unfamiliar with it (and kinda brusque even at the best of times), starts yelling at them for not telling her in plain English what the hell a "walking dog, hold the hay, and a tall brown cow" is (which is likely a hot dog without sauerkraut and a chocolate shake).
  • In Mork & Mindy, during the second series, we find Mindy's friends running "The New York Deli" in Boulder. When Mork is introduced to Mindy's friend, Jeannie, he tries to "speak her lingo":
    Mork: I'll have a squealer on a honky, no Goya and a side of Jeanne d'Arcs.
    Jeannie: A what?
    Mork: Sorry, that's a ham on white, no mayo and lots of french fries.
    Jeannie: Oh, okay. [turns back to the kitchen] A number 3!
  • An episode of Reading Rainbow: LeVar Burton wound up just guessing and getting every order horribly, horribly wrong, although, since this was a restaurant meant for goat people, it was part of the gag (It tied in with a book that episode about a goat who was a picky eater, just roll with it). As an example, the "Blue Plate Special" was literally that: a blue plate (though the server commented, "There's a yellow one around here somewhere too").
  • An episode of Soap finds Chester working as a short-order cook. When a customer orders "Jack ham, loose hoaten, roll bowl, no green, lots of reg, keep it low, let 'er ride it", Chester is flummoxed until a waitress whispers what that means in his ear. Chester laughs and says, "He's actually going to eat that?"
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In the episode "Threads", Daniel Jackson is stuck in a diner on a higher plane of existence. Oma Desala is his waitress, and she attempts to use the lingo on occasion. Amusingly, it's the most straightforward she ever is for the entire series (on previous appearances, she spoke primarily in koans).
    • Vala also gets into this when she becomes a waitress during "Memento Mori". The chef approvingly notes that she's been practicing.
      "Dead cow on a turban, hold the yellow, extra spud mush."
  • In the Starsky & Hutch episode "The Specialist", Starsky and Hutch both order a medium rare steak with plain baked potatoes. The waitress says, "Okay, that's two T's bleeding slightly on a raft. Two Irish plums and hold the fat".

    Puppet Shows 
  • Gladys from The Muppet Show talked like this sometimes. Miss Piggy's order of a watercress sandwich and rhubarb juice was "The Weight Watcher's Special". Annie Sue's large order of a milkshake, burger, fries and apple pie was a "Kamikaze".
  • Sesame Street:
    • A 2014 episode has Snuffy attempting to deliver brunch to a zookeeper (Audra McDonald) and her animal charges. When he keeps messing up the order, he develops some Hash House Lingo to try and remember what the animals ordered, eventually settling on "beggon, red flips and Bert" (respectively: bacon and eggs, raspberry pancakes and blueberry oatmeal).

    Stand-up Comedy 
  • Kyle Cease has this joke:
    I hate whenever you go into a coffee shop, no matter what you order they have their own way of calling it to the back. Like you could be like, "Hi, I'll have a tall mocha iced latte blended fun". And then the lady's like, "BLEEUH!, anything else?"
  • Louis CK claims to have mastered the code for ordering breakfast foods. For example, this would be the code for someone ordering scrambled eggs, bacon and orange juice:
    Louis: Wake up the monkey and show him a dollar. Shave my back and slap my sister. Wax lips. Two lumpy tits riding sidecar. And scrambled eggs and bacon and orange juice.
  • In a comedy performance at Carnegie Hall, Ray Romano talked about formerly being a diner waiter, and noted that knowing the language actually hurt him in later jobs. When he later worked at a pharmacy:
    Woman: I need some Sominex and some condoms...
    Ray: (to the back) Sleeping beauty's got a date! (to the woman) Anything else?
    Woman: Um, I can't swallow these, do you have them in a suppository?
    Ray: (to the back) The bridge is closed, she's taking the tunnel!

  • Fantana (1905) had a Separated by a Common Language song titled "My Word!" sung by a Cockney maid character. In the third verse, she recalls her consternation at hearing an American waiter echo her order of ham and eggs, butter cakes and black coffee to the back:
    "Plate of sinkers! Ham and! Draw one in the dark!"

    Video Games 
  • The Enclave cook in Fallout 2 will gladly, if you ask for food, serve you "shit on a shingle" and points to the "snow and fly shit" on the table. "Shit on a shingle" is chipped beef on toast (this is genuine military slang), "snow and fly shit" are salt and pepper.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 2: Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places): When ordering a "Blue Pate" special at the airport, the woman behind the counter yells to the kitchen to "slop up another bald one!"
  • In Sam & Max Season 2, ordering something from Stinky's diner will result in this.
    Sam: Chicken chow mein with chocolate covered raisins and a caramel swirl.
    Stinky: Sal, get me a hyperactive spider monkey in a powder-blue cardigan. And why don't we go ahead and wrestle him to the ground and tickle him until he pees.
    Max: I have got to see what goes on in this kitchen!
    • The gag can also be reversed: Sam will rattle of a completely random sequence of animals/actions/farmyard implements to throw Stinky off. Her response?
      Stinky: Sal, a Number 3!

  • Given a Gaslamp Fantasy flavour in Girl Genius: in the side story "Maxim Buys A Hat", we are introduced to the Sandwich House of Old Man Death; a food shop where the owner, Old Man Death, will make any kind of sandwich you want - and most of them have distinctive nicknames. The few names we actually see mentioned are:
    • Racing Trilobite: Grilled snail meat and Swiss cheese on rye bread. This is presumably a reference to the snail race during the Mechanicsburg Harvest Festival.
    • Botched Construct: A chicken salad served on a Kaiser roll.
    • Martian Princess: Beef tongue with horseradish on toast.
    • Red Heterodyne: Fried bat with mushroom sauce on pumperknickel bread. Word of God ultimately explained this one being named after "The Red Heterodyne", a member of the famous Heterodyne Mad Scientist dynasty who spent a long period of time stuck in a cave eating bats and mushrooms before growing to actually enjoy the taste of both.
    • Ultimately weaponized when the Jagermonster trying to duel Old Man Death for his hat finally thinks to order a "Prince of Sturmhalten's Big Bet" - a hat sandwich, whose origins stem from a bet between Prince Vadim of Sturmhalten and Dante "The Good" Heterodyne where the Prince promised to eat his hat if Dante could raise a cathedral in Mechanicsburg; a promise he lived up to. Then, as icing on the cake, the Jager declares, "Und I vants it to go!" Old Man Death is so impressed with this level of thought from a Jaegermonster that, rather than just giving him some random hat from the shop, he gives Maxim his own prized hat.
    • With cheese.
  • Muertitos does it here, with a little twist at the end.
    Honeo: ...What's "pee in the orange juice" mean?
    Death: It means she remembers I never tip.

    Web Original 
  • The RiffTrax of Transformers (2007) contains a bit of this after Bonecrusher scoops up a car in a way that looks like flipping a pancake. It begins as actual diner lingo before spinning off into the absurd, like "Give Aunt Martha a cockroach and mail off a series of strongly worded letters to a fringe publication concerning the tax code!"
  • There is a Vine made by a user named Alpha Male that showcases a slightly exaggerated use of this trope involving a turkey sandwich.
    Customer: Um, can I have a turkey and cheese sandwich?
    Cashier: (to cook) Hey, Frankie, cut the bird's titties off and make it do a somersault! (to customer) You want mayo on that?
    Customer: Uh, yeah—
    Cashier: (to cook) Make it racist!
    Customer: Please don't—

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy and his friends get jobs at a restaurant. Sheen is at the drive-thru window and calls out the order through this. Carl replies, "'Doing the tango or whacking the goose?" Sheen looks back at the car and asks, "'You want a dollar salad?" then refers to "yes" as "He's packing light!"
    • This becomes a running gag in the episode, to the point where the following exchange occurs when Jimmy quits:
      Sheen: Hey, Carl. Gimme a fat taxi driver with a Polish accent.
      Carl: You want a hamburger with peanut butter on it?
      Sheen: No, but if Jimmy's leaving, we'll need a ride home.
    • Later, when Jimmy tricks the computerized restaurant into flying into the sun by ordering four deluxe burgers cooked at 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit, Sheen cries out, "A King Arthur with a hip replacement, on a bed of coals?!"
  • Arthur:
    • In "Lost!", Arthur oversleeps on the bus and ends up at the edge of town. He then waits for the next bus at a diner, where the waitress responds to his order of a glass of milk by hollering "squeeze me a cow".
    • In "Tipping the Scales", Arthur's class ends up having to stop at a diner since the road to Crown City is closed due to a snowstorm. A waitress at the diner is seen asking for "a blonde with sand and a pair of life preservers" (a coffee and two donuts).
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Bob and Deliver", Gene is a waiter at the student-run restaurant and makes up his own hash-house slang, which Zeke quickly picks up on:
    Gene: Give me a bald Kelly Ripa in a canoe with a brick!
    Zeke: Chicken taco, no sour cream, plus a brownie — you got it!
    Gene: Really? I didn't even know what I meant.
  • One of the episodes in the first season of Daria, "Road Worrier", features this. When Daria, Jane, Trent, and Jesse stop a diner on their way to a rock concert:
    Waitress: Okay, that's a meatloaf, open turkey with fries, box of Frosted Flakes... those are pretty small, hon. Just one?
    Jesse: You're right. Make it five.
    Waitress: (to Daria) And you?
    Daria: Dry toast and tea, please.
    Waitress: I thought you looked depressed. You want a booster seat? (short laugh before turning and yelling) Five boxes of flakes and one nausea delight!
  • Doug takes this trope to the extreme in the pilot when Doug tries to order from the Honker Burger for the first time, and the cashier doesn't even understand the real names for the menu items:
    Doug: Hi, I'd like three hamburgers, one no pickles, one no onions, one fish sandwich, four fries, and four grape sodas.
    Cashier: I can't understand a word you say.
    Doug: Huh?
    Skeeter: Hey, man, let me take care of it. The new kid wants three moo cows, one no cucs, one no stinkers, one wet one, four tubers, and four from the vine. Do you want anything else?
    Doug: How do you order a salad from the salad bar?
    Skeeter: One salad from the salad bar!
  • Just like the aforementioned movie, The Emperor's New School contains surprisingly little of this, but when it does it's extremely funny. Kuzco even throws Mata, the lunch lady, into the dungeon (due to his made up school rules) because she spoke hash lingo not even she herself understood.
  • This clip from Family Guy when Peter worked at a diner.
    Man 1: Can I get two eggs, scrambled, on toast?
    Peter: Sure thing, honey. Adam and Eve on a raft, wreck them!
    Woman: I'd like a hotdog with ketchup and some Jell-O, please.
    Peter: Paint a bow-wow red and a side of nervous pudding!
    Man 2: Can I have a well-done burger with lettuce and tomato?
    Peter: Burn one, drag it through the garden, pin a rose on it!
    Man 3: (Walks in) Can I use your bathroom?
    Peter: Got a telephone pole heading to the swimming hole. Spray it with sunshine!

  • In Green Eggs and Ham, when Guy orders dry oatmush with no toppings at Donna's Diner, Donna says, "One sadman special!"
  • In the Higglytown Heroes episode "The Egg-cellent Adventure", the kids order their breakfast which Ms. Waitress uses this type of lingo. Kip asks about it and the Waitress and the Cook explain it through song.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Not Phineas and Ferb", Major Monogram sets up a short-order message technique to Agent P. "Doof is up, put a stop, curses on the side". When Agent P leaves, Monogram calls out for "Adam and Eve on raft! Wreck 'em!"note 
    Carl: Is that a mission, sir?
    Monogram: No, it's my lunch.
  • Lisa does this when working at Marge's sandwich shop in the Restaurant-Owning Episode of The Simpsons including repeating a call for the first-aid kit as "Florence Nightingale in a box, and make it snappy!"
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • The VeggieTales episode ''Asparagus of La Mancha" is rife with this kind of lingo in the beginning. The DVD even includes a special feature explaining the meanings of various terms, as well as a minigame to find different foods that matches like terms.
    Pancho: Two cows still mooing and a Hail Caesar, hold the bird. (Two rare steaks & Caesar salad, no chicken)
    Don Quixote: Order up! Noah's boy on bread, side of frog sticks. (Ham sandwich with French Fries)
    Pancho: Drag 'em through the garden? (sandwich has lettuce)
    Don Quixote: With a stop in the Alps! (sandwich has Swiss cheese)

    Real Life 
  • Many drinks are ordered "on the rocks", which refers to ice.note  A lot of people object to diluting high-quality drinks but need a cooling system.
  • See also on Wikipedia, here. Usually not quite as esoteric as what shows up in fiction (particularly comedy), but these gags have to start somewhere.
  • The Canadian comedy group Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie was named after one of these. It was the slang for a triple hamburger to go at the restaurant where they first met.
  • Two iconic restaurant chains based in the Atlanta metropolitan area, one national and the other local, are well-known for their jargon.
    • The Waffle House chain is well-known for its terminology as it relates to orders of its hash browns, including "covered" (with a slice of cheese), "smothered" (with onions), "scattered" (spread across the grill).
    • Besides its status as the world's largest drive-in restaurant, The Varsity is also well-known for its lingo, such as "walk a dog" (a hot dog to go) and "glorified steak" (hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and mayo).
  • Hong Kong cha chaan tengs (the local equivalent to the Greasy Spoon) have their own sets of lingo, like leng jai (靚仔, lit. "handsome guy") for plain white rice or leng neui (靚女, lit. "pretty girl") for plain congee/rice porridge. Like in English, some of these phrases have entered common usage in Cantonese, like haang gaai (行街, "to walk down the street"note ) for takeaway or baak jup (白汁, "white sauce") for cream-based sauces. The English Wikipedia page has a few examples, while the ones in Standard Chinese and written Cantonese list more.
  • In-N-Out Burger has a "secret menu", items not normally listed which can be ordered if you know the right lingo, for example, "Protein Style" means a burger wrapped in lettuce rather than on a bun. A full list can be found here.
  • Lick's restaurant lingo comes in halves; the person taking the order calls out the first half, and the grill people and dressers call out the second half, so that everyone knows if they've understood correctly (A fair number of the terms either rhyme or alliterate). The customer, who might only hear the first half, may find the lingo a bit esoteric, such as "Sky high" for a regular fries or "Routine" for a poutine. But for the most part they tend to speak for themselves and can be worked out with little to no thought, such as "Nature" for a nature burger (veggie burger), "Ring a ding ding" for onion rings, or "Gobble gobble" for a turkey burger.
  • Israel has 'Ovad's Diner (commonly known as "'Ovad's Sabikh") in Giv'atayim, which is famous for its unique lingo. The Hebrew version of Wikipedia used to feature a list of the terms used there.
  • In addition to its regular divergences from traditional caffeine drinking thought, Starbucks has a complex enough lingo to actually hinder both their baristas trying to work outside the chain, and outside baristas dealing with the lingo at Starbucks coffee shops.

"Adam and Eve on a raft and sink 'em!"


Peter the Waitress

In one cutaway scene, Peter fills in at the local diner.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / HashHouseLingo

Media sources: