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A trifecta of waffles to suit any time, any taste

Regina Fox

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Breakfast is supposed to be a simple meal. And yet, the quest for the pure, golden, perfect-texture waffle still eludes so many of us as we sadly scrape the burnt remains of our lumpy batter off the Cuisinart. This is no way to spend your Saturday morning. And so, we at (614) present to you three worthy candidates to reign over the waffles in Columbus.

Belgian Iron WaffleCompany

19 W Russell St.

Welcome to a world where waffles are wafels and sugar pearls are king. Belgian Iron opened in the Short North this winter on a mission to redefine the way we enjoy the syrupy carb. They started with their name. 

“We get people in here all the time telling us we spelled ‘waffle’ wrong,” said Aimee Harper laughingly. Aimee owns the business with her husband, Brandon. 

But, of course, it’s no mistake—Belgian Iron’s Leige-style wafels have a spelling and recipe all their own. Rather than the liquidy batter and granular sugar you grew up with, Leige-style wafels are made from a proprietary dough recipe and Belgian sugar pearls. The dough allows the wafels to mature into impressively dense, yet fluffy and flaky members of the breakfast community. The sugar pearls, which are the size, shape, and color of nickel-sized hail, give the wafels an unbelievably sweet and crunchy crust. 

After the sugar pearls are carefully folded into the dough along with the other meticulously measured ingredients (amounts and temps determined with help from a real chemist for the gluten-free recipe!) it is pressed between nearly 100 pounds of beautiful Belgian cast iron. Then, it’s Executive Chef Tom Brown’s time to shine. 

The wafels are elevated even higher with uniquely sophisticated, yet approachable toppings. Belgian Mushroom, which Aimee believes will be adored by even non-mushroom lovers, comes with herb ricotta, sautéed crimini mushroom and onion, zesty adobo demi glace, and aged cheese. The Balsamic Chicken Sriracha with smoked chicken, roasted red pepper, melted mozzarella, sliced avocado, and spiraled beets, is Brown’s homage to the classic chicken and waffles combination. On the sweet side, Belgian Iron offers the carrot cake (chef’s choice) which comes with bourbon-infused genieten, maple carrot cream cheese, spiral carrot. There are also three gluten-free and vegan options on the menu, both sweet and savory. 

Check out: belgianiron.com.

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Forty’s Chicken & Waffles

 2593 N High St.

Next time you’re throwing a right hook on Street Fighter, or keeping Ms. Pac-Man away from killer ghosts at Olde North Arcade, the sweet, sweet smell of fresh waffles may interrupt your gamer gaze. Forty’s Chicken & Waffles is now the official feedery of the North High Street barcade. Ben Morgan has seen food from all kinds of neighboring establishments come into his bar—Mikey’s Late Night Slice, Hounddogs, Ray Ray’s Hog Pit—and after four years, he decided he’d had enough of that. 

“We wanted to engineer something that would be the ultimate late-night munchies type of comfort food that would accentuate our existing nightlife venue,” said Morgan. “Something that would be hot, crunchy, salty, fatty, and instantly gratifying.”

Chicken was the obvious choice, particularly because Morgan was already in the business of chicken with his Forty’s Bird & Brew food truck. And so, the truck was parked and the chicken and waffles flew indoors.

Described by Morgan as “comically unhealthy,” Forty’s menu items are what guilty pleasure dreams are made of. The waffles are made from “lots of gluten, butter, sugar, and eggs,” and provide the ideal anchor for the gluttonous goodies held inside, like the buttermilk fried chicken that marinates overnight with hot sauce and spices to create a “ridiculously juicy and flavorful chunk of meat,” says Morgan. The Cone comes with tenders, mac, slaw, and maple syrup all stuffed inside a waffle cone shell. (This was the most popular item out of the food truck.) There’s also the Slider, a piece of fried chicken hugged by two belgian waffles with slaw and BBQ sauce. The waffle stuffed with mac and cheese and topped with bacon and maple syrup has my vote, though. However, I’d be positively giddy to spend a week’s worth of calories on the Donut—Glazed Donut Bun w/ Fried Tenders + Slaw + Maple Syrup. You can get all of these unbelievably delicious items with sides of 40 ounces of freedom (Budweiser – Bud Lite – King Cobra – Colt 45 – Mickey’s – Olde English), root beer floats, ice cream cones, and/or fries—waffle fries, that is.  

Check out: fortyschickenandwaffles.com

Double Happy 

1280 Brown Rd.

You’re familiar with waffles, and you’re familiar with potatoes, but have you ever heard of Poffles? This new-fangled edible invention comes to us from Double Happy, a quaint ice cream shop heading into its third year of business on the southwest side of Columbus. The Poffles, which are among the most unique and popular items on Double Happy’s exceptionally diverse menu, include the Golden Poffle (gold potato waffle), a Bacon and Cheddar Poffle, and a Sweet Potato Poffle that can be likened to the taste of sweet potato pie. 

Owner Ryan Troup says that since the Poffles were introduced this past fall, the Muenster Mac & Cheese Poffle (lightly breaded to give it a crust similar to baked mac), topped with Memphis BBQ pork, baked beans (“Mom’s recipe,” said Troup), and coleslaw has been the crowd favorite. 

Got a sweet tooth? Troup suggests turning the Sweet Potato Poffle into an ice cream sundae smothered in pure maple syrup. However, the Chocolate Brownie Belgian waffle is designed specifically for sundaes. The plain Belgian Pearl Sugar waffles act as a blank slate for customer creativity, too. Belgian waffle + chicken + peanut butter sauce + honey + peanuts may just be the adventurous culinary combo you need!

To wash down your Poffle or waffle, Double Happy offers a bevy of beverages designed to taste good and make you feel good. 

“Our fair trade, organic coffee beans for both hot and cold drinks are roasted by Stauf’s and come from a cooperative in Peru run entirely by women,” said Troup. 

Coffee is the core of several Double Happy drinks, including the mochaccino milkshake which boasts a chocolate base plus some zips of espresso syrup. The most popular iced drink is the freddo—pure maple syrup over ice with fair trade, organic espresso and cold whisked milk.

On the non-caf side, Troup implores guests to give Double Happy’s hand-blended milkshakes a try, like the Brown and Hopkin made with chocolate, Ghirardelli hot fudge, and their own, all-natural peanut butter sauce. 

“We enjoy making products for people who find something on the menu they haven’t had before,” said Troup. “But rather than an ultimate order, what makes our day is when a customer feels better for having stopped at Double Happy.”

Check out: Double Happy on Facebook.

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Food & Drink

Too Good to Eat: Hubbard Grille’s Short Rib and Shrimp shareable

@findyourfork

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If looks could krill, you would be on the floor. Literally.

Hubbard Grille's Short Rib and Shrimp shareable dish will knock you right out of your seat because it will hit you hard and fast with flavor and more.

Photo by Angela Lee of @findyourfork

Imagine this: the most tender and delicious pulled beef short rib layered on a bed of the creamiest and cheesiest white cheddar grits with tomato jus. Top the bite-sized goodness off with a perfectly tender and seasoned prawn, add some color and texture with delicately placed microgreens and take that first bite.

With that first bite, you’ve just experienced one of the most delicious flavor profiles that the Columbus food scene has to offer. Second bite and your taste buds are just begging, pleading, and crying for more. Third bite and you are already shamelessly scraping off every last drop, speck, and flavor from the dish with your spoon.

You might actually even pick up the dish with your own two hands and unashamedly lick the plate clean. You might also start bargaining with your fellow table mates to negotiate the remaining pieces on the plate.

No judgement here. We have all done it at one point. You gotta do what you gotta do, am I right?

Hubbard Grille is located at 793 N. High St. in the Short North. To learn more + view the menu, visit hubbardgrille.com.

@findyourfork your average noodle connoisseur, taco devourer, and mimosa lover. When she's not busy snapping pictures of her latest yummy foodie adventures, you'll find her at your local coffee shop casually relaxing with a pastry in hand and a latte in the other.

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Food & Drink

Beloved burger joint opening in Hilliard next week

614now Staff

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Swensons Drive-In is expanding their central Ohio footprint in just a few days. The Hilliard stand will open at 4810 Cemetery Rd. on Monday, September 23.

Hilliard will be the third stand in Columbus with a locations in Dublin and Polaris.

The Akron-based burger chain prepares their burgers, including the signature Galley Boy, using premium cuts of beef ground fresh daily and made to order. The buttered and toasted buns only add to the juiciness of the meat.

https://twitter.com/SwensonsDriveIn/status/1175043808268099585

Apart from the greasy goodness that is Swensons food, one of the other reasons to patronize the stand is its car-side service. From the comfort of your pajama pants, Swensons Curb Servers will be at your window, eager to take your order and sprint, literally sprint, it back to the kitchen for preparation. Just be sure to not drop a single Potato Teezer between your seat because we all know that is the land of no return.

Visit www.swensonsdriveins.com for more information.

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Food & Drink

Review: Matt & Tony’s dishes out classic comfort food in downtown

Regina Fox

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I've gotten to try a lot of interesting cuisine with this job, but it's rare that I get the opportunity to sample a mother's spaghetti recipe outside of my childhood home. This is the type of experience that Matt & Tony's Wood Fired Kitchen, which recently opened inside the former CBC Restaurant space, offers its guests.

At Matt & Tony's, you don't have to sneak off to the bathroom to Google what a menu item is so you don't look ignorant in front of your date, and that's what makes it so great.

The menu bodes familiar comforts like fried chicken, fish & chips, veal parmesan, and burgers. There's no proprietary flare or fancy sauce smears around your plate—it's all just damn good food.

I sampled Madeline's Spaghetti & Meatballs, which is straight from the cookbook of co-owner Matt Rootes' mother. The sauce was sweet and plentiful while the meatballs were hearty and succulent. I didn't want to gorge myself on the first entree, but I couldn't seem to stop twirling those perfectly-boiled noodles around my fork...

Next up was a Wood Grilled Steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I heard once that butter wasn't a carb, so I spread it on thick and cut myself a piece with a crispy fat edge—juicy, tender, and lean. I didn't eat all 12 oz., but I very easily could have.

The Fork N' Knife BBQ Ribs at Matt & Tony's are straight out of a BBQ fairy tale. This healthy helping of slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone meat is smothered in sauce and almost impossible to put down. You may not be excusing yourself to Google what you just nervously and unknowingly ordered, but you'll probably require a bathroom mirror to make sure you've wiped all the sauce off your mug after devouring these racks.

Feeling like Thanksgiving? Have a little alternative celebration for yourself with Matt & Tony's Half Roasted Chicken with crushed herbs and lemon butter. Slip into a food coma with the sides of potatoes and seasonal vegetable. Dream a little dream of country gravy (which can be found drowning the fried chicken dinner entree).

Rootes says he and his partner Tony Wildman chose to open Matt & Tony's to give the people of downtown an option for high-quality steaks and seafood at a reasonable price without all the "frou-frou." I, for one, think that's exactly what downtown needs.

While so many other restaurants are reaching for globally-inspired dishes made with ingredients you can pronounce, Matt & Tony's is executing classic comfort dishes you grew up on in a warm, inviting atmosphere—it's like a little slice of home on Short St.

Matt & Tony's is located at 525 Short Street and is open 11am- 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 11am- 11pm Friday and Saturday. Visit mattandtonys.com for more information.

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