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.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
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.
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.