Gayle Troy opens brick-and-mortar with a philanthropic edge
After housing a brief pop-up location in Olde Town East in 2016, brunch hub “What the Waffle” has returned with an official brick-and-mortar in King-Lincoln District. Though the opening of What the Waffle was prone to numerous delayed starts due to renovations and the pandemic, owner and culinary chef Gayle Troy has maintained optimism throughout the relaunch process.
“The plan was to reopen What the Waffle in March of 2020. Due to COVID-19, I had to push back the opening date and expand my reach in terms of vendors and local suppliers,” Troy said. “Renovating an older building takes time, attention to detail and dollars to ensure that all requirements are met per the City of Columbus and Columbus Public Health. Being a female business owner, that adds a totally different level of hurry up and wait.”
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Along with Lifestyle Cafe and Upper Cup Coffee locations in both Olde Town East and Gahanna, What the Waffle will be a newer brunch spot in Columbus’ central area where dining options owned by people of color are steadily growing.
“In my travels over the years, my family and I would seek out the best brunch spots in that particular city. I [once] encountered a waffle that was absolutely divine! After that culinary experience, I could no longer find the waffles of my dreams, so I made them myself,” Troy said.
Staying true to its namesake, What the Waffle’s menu is almost exclusively devoted to the fluffy concoction with various flavor options. Seeking a dish to suit your savory cravings? Opt for What the Waffle’s newest feature, The Tony, an Italian-inspired belgian waffle sandwich with house-made meatballs, marinara sauce, fresh basil and various cheeses. If your palette favors something sweeter, the french toast mixture-dipped French-E might be your best bet—just add blueberries and bananas for a fruiter touch. Not in the mood for waffles? There’s plenty of substitutes, from Sweet G’s Sweet Potato Muffin to Shrimp and Grits.
“What the Waffle’s experience is one of quality and fresh ingredients incorporated into innovative menu items, that you would not expect in a take-out urban family restaurant environment,” Troy says about the nontraditional menu.
Service within What the Waffle will also give back to the community, as Troy actively trains and hires young women who have aged out of foster care. Through Troy’s philanthropic efforts and regaining interest from Columbus’ brunch scene, not only will What the Waffle change the conversation about diverse brunch options, they’ll also change the narrative.