by Jonathan Baker - 319 Reviews - 185 List
It can be enjoyed as breakfast or dessert, can be paired with fruit or fried chicken, and there's even a local-turned-national chain--yes, that would be Waffle House--that devotes its entire theme to this one item: the waffle. We aren't sure who came up with the idea of honoring this versatile breakfast item with its own day (International Waffle Day, March 25), but hell, we'll take the excuse to indulge any way we can get it. Here's our quick guide to waffling your way around Atlanta.
Updated: March 22, 2010
Anyone who has grown up in Atlanta has stories about going to Waffle House, or as we sometimes like to warmly refer to it as, the Awful Waffle. In all honesty, the no-frills 24-hour diner is pretty good. Ask for your waffle to be crispy (underdone waffles are tragic) and expect it to come with imitation butter and a syrup dispenser that's a little sticky (part of the charm). Get a side of hash browns and, if you're a soda fan, get a vanilla or cherry Coke--they're still one of the few places that uses syrup to flavor it.
All too often confused with IHOP, the Original Pancake House does out-of-this-world breakfasts and, despite having pancakes in the name, they do a damn good waffle, too. While their usual waffles with fruit and nuts are good, they blow our mind with this bad boy: a bacon waffle. As if the waffle couldn't get any better, they add real bits of bacon in the batter and top it with (real) whipped butter. Heaven.
Growing up, just the idea of a waffle cone was enough to get kids excited. It held more ice cream than your traditional cake or sugar cone, and gave the shop a specific (wonderful) aroma. Our favorite unique spot for the waffle cone is Morelli's, where you can fill your cone with old-school flavors (vanilla) or get weird with options like sweet corn.
While we usually like more hidden brunch spots like Cafe di Sol, The EARL or Babette's, sadly none of them serve waffles on the weekend. Not surprisingly, however, Atlanta's fancy brunch champion, Murphy's, boasts a malted waffle that comes with honey-cinnamon butter and warm maple syrup. Fruit compote costs extra, but we like this one as is.
Fried chicken and waffles ? what a glorious combination! And (gasp!) an Atlanta tradition thanks to Ms. Gladys Knight. The chicken and waffles plate here gets dusted with a heavy hand of powdered sugar, which tends to gently shower the fried chicken. Something about that wonderful combination of crispy, salty fried chicken and little hints of powdered sugar makes you secretly wish all fried chicken had a little sweetness to it.