Live at the Waffle Shop

They’ve got limited hours, and an unusual business model, but the Waffle Shop really does have what they advertise: waffles.

Located at 124 S. Highland Ave., the Waffle Shop is a “community arts venue and restaurant” that is a joint venture of the Carnegie Mellon School of Art and several community action groups.  The venue is open late nights Friday and Saturday plus brunch Saturday and Sunday, and features a live, web-streamed talk show in which a rotating cadre of hosts interview restaurant guests on camera.

I (as many already know) love waffles, but because the Waffle Shop’s hours are so irregular, I had never actually  been to the restaurant until last night.  But, after Haris Krijestorac, the Waffle Shop’s assistant marketing coordinator, emailed me to ask if I would visit their shop and write about it for this page, I decided to make a special effort to visit.

I was careful not to tell anyone at the venue who I was or what prompted me to visit.  Nevertheless, I was recruited by the evening’s first talk show host, Matt, to serve as an on-camera guest.  And despite Matt knowing nothing about me besides my first name, the conversation quickly turned to food as Matt asked me to recount my earliest memory of eating waffles.  Soon, we were discussing kumquats (their taste and the merits of grilling them); eating kumquats that the kitchen staff was kind enough to ‘grill’ on their waffle irons for us, and by the time I was preparing to return to my seat, we were talking about the merits of pure maple syrup (offered in a 2-ounce portion with your waffle for an upcharge of $1, which, if you’ve looked at maple syrup prices lately is a bargain—generally one can anticipate that pure maple syrup retails in the neighborhood of $1 per ounce).

I know, I know–what about the waffles?  I’m pleased to report that they’re good.  The most interesting waffles on the menu were their daily specials (which I almost didn’t see despite the fact that the specials are emblazoned in 4-inch letters across the wall of the restaurant).  I opted for the blueberry-mint waffle as I was in the mood for something sweet, but the coconut chicken curry special was mighty tempting.  Additionally, they offer a savory waffle on their normal menu: encased with a layer of egg on one side and melted cheese on the other, this tasty waffle (which I sampled) features an inclusion of crumbled bacon.  Other menu options include the bananas foster waffle, the classic waffle, an omelet in the shape of a waffle, and a chocolate chip waffle.

I wish that they had a couple more inclusions available for what might go inside the waffle (like pecans–I really love a pecan waffle.)  But, I suppose that’s what the rotating daily special board is for.  In the end, I was really quite pleased.  I got a tasty waffle for a good price, and I got to participate in the evening’s entertainment as well (though I wish to stress that there is no requirement one dining in the restaurant appear on camera–that’s a strictly voluntary activity).  having already volunteered to sit in the guest chair and talk, I must say, I think I’d be even more entertaining performing a Corduroy Orange cooking show live from the Waffle Shop–now, that would be some high quality entertainment!

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