Raleigh police arrested Larry McDade after he crashed a vehicle into the restaurant at 2624 Westinghouse Blvd.
No one was injured. Damage to the restaurant was believed to be between $1,000 and $2,000.
Waffle House employees continued serving customers while crews made repairs and cleaned up the mess.
Authorities said McDade was impaired when he crashed around 4 a.m. Police charged him with driving while impaired and possession of cocaine.
Raleigh police said McDade had recently been released from prison on drug charges. Department of Correction records indicate he was released in August after serving two sentences related to 2003 drug convictions for trafficking and possession.
He has a lengthy criminal record in Wake County, including multiple convictions for selling drugs, dating to 1996.