The Best Waffles Across America

·Editor

The Waffle Window’s pearl sugar waffle platter. Photo: The Waffle Window


Given their stature as one of the ultimate and most versatile comfort foods, waffles rightfully claim two days of celebration during the year.

We tip our forks to Sweden for giving us the first on March 25. The date is actually the Christian celebration of the Annunciation of Our Lady, which marks the day the angel Gabriel told Mary she would become the mother of Jesus. When spoken quickly in Swedish (or maybe through a mouthful of waffles), Varfrudagen (Our Lady’s Day) sounds an awful lot like Vaffeldagen or waffle day. Not to let an obviously good thing slip by, the Swedes figured it was a perfect day for everyone to eat lots of waffles, hence International Waffle Day.

In the United States, National Waffle Day falls on Aug. 24, the day in 1869 that Cornelius Swartwout of Troy, N.Y., received the first patent for a waffle iron. His maker consisted of two iron plates, connected by a hinge, which sat on top of a stove. GE began production of an electric waffle iron around 1918, following a prototype seven years earlier.

As the waffle iron evolved (non-stick surfaces, lighter materials, browning levels) since Swartwout’s, so, too, have waffles. Diners, grills, cafés, BBQ joints and white-cloth restaurants across the country are serving up an incredible variety of fillings and toppings, both savory and sweet, with waffles made from an array of batters and, in some cases, dough.

To help you find a new favorite, discover a hidden gem, or confirm what you already knew, we reached out to Yelp data scientists to come up with a list of some of the best places to get waffles in the United States. Yelp identified businesses with a large number of reviews mentioning “waffle” (the format we follow in our “mentions”) and ranked those places using the total volume and ratings of Yelp reviews mentioning “waffle.” Don’t take this as a definitive list, but one that offers up some ideas on where to celebrate the two waffle days, and every day in between.

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More Than Waffles’ Eggs Benedict with Bacon Photo: June V., Yelp

More Than Waffles, 17200 Ventura Boulevard, Encino, Calif.
4.35 stars, 230 reviews mentioning waffles
True to its title, More Than Waffles serves up a full breakfast and lunch menu. Most of the food on those is highly rated, but waffles are the true stars of this Yelp favorite tucked in the Encino Town Center shopping mall. Crisp outside, light and fluffy inside, the waffles come in almost two-dozen varieties, including cheddar bacon, and eggs Benedict. The chefs go the extra mile and will top their Belgian waffles with just about anything, as long as it’s on the full menu. “Amazing food and great service!! Best waffles I have ever had!!!” writes Christopher A. of Pacoima.

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A true waffle celebration at Yardbird Southern Table and Bar. Photo: Yardbird

Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, 1600 Lenox Avenue, Miami Beach, Fla.
4.35 stars, 202 reviews mentioning waffles
There’s a good reason you’ll find Yardbird’s Chicken N’ Watermelon N’ Waffles on its brunch, lunch and supper menus. If it weren’t, the diners would probably revolt. “What really makes it a killer plate is the accompanying waffle … a foodie’s dream come true,” writes George Z. of New York. Yardbird takes its cheddar waffle up a few levels with hot sauce honey, chow chow relish, and bourbon maple syrup. Not to offend the Yardbird waffle fanatics out there, but the rest of the menu looks pretty damn good, too. If you’re in Vegas, get your waffle/fried chicken fix on at Yardbird’s spot in The Venetian.  

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The Garden Waffle Photo: Wow Wow Waffle

Wow Wow Waffle, 3519 30th Street, San Diego, Calif.
4.34 stars, 84 reviews mentioning waffles
Wow Wow Waffle fans will have to wait until the end of this month for this converted garage behind the 30th Street Coin Laundry to reopen (according to the company’s homepage), following some long-due kitchen renovations. Until then, they can continue to dream of these Belgian Liege-style street waffles made from yeast-risen dough and dotted with sugar pearls that caramelize the waffle’s exterior. The texture resembles a fresh Brioche, which supports the sweet and savory toppings and infusions, such as imported Belgian chocolate, regionally sourced vegetables, fresh fruits, and homemade whipped cream. The Number Seven, crowned with candied bacon, avocado and goat cheese, is a clear Yelp favorite from the savory side. “We couldn’t get enough of this concoction, so we ordered another,” writes Chrissie O. of Escondido, Calif. Wash ‘em all down with one of Wow Wow’s handcrafted lemonades.


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A standout from Paul’s menu. Photo: Paul’s Place

Paul’s Place, 132 Punahoa Street, Hilo, Hawaii
4.32 stars, 30 reviews mentioning waffles
Paul’s Place, a tiny café on the first floor of the Pakalana Inn, keeps the menu small but the flavors big with fresh, local ingredients. Yelpers say you can’t go wrong with the Belgian waffles. “It had a crispy texture; buttery, mouth-watering flavor, and arrived with fresh fruit and real maple syrup” writes Kristin U., of NYC. Yelpers mix it up with the highly rated Eggs Benedict. “Its’ the best Benedict & waffles you will ever taste,” promises Akshay J. of Santa Clara, Calif.

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The pride of Screen Door. Photo: Wendy S., Yelp

Screen Door, 2337 E. Burnside Street, Portland, Ore.
4.28 stars, 30 reviews mentioning waffles
The good news is that Screen Door serves one of the best sweet potato waffles around. The bad news is they’re only served during the weekend brunch. There’s a lot on the Screen Door southern-inspired menu to keep Yelpers coming back during the rest of the week – trout pecan, shrimp and grits, molasses and chili braised pork shoulder, BBQ brisket – but it’s the three fried chicken breasts piled high like some golden, craggy mountain on the waffle that pulls Yelpers in on the weekend. “The sweet potato waffle is the perfect crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside consistency,” writes Diane I. of Los Angeles. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, the praline bacon waffle should hit the spot. “Foodgasm,” assures Anna M. of Vancouver, Canada.

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The Waffle Window’s Three Bs: bacon, basil, brie (they should add a fourth for “bliss“) Photo: The Waffle Window

The Waffle Window, 3610 S.E. Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, Ore.
4.25 stars, 184 reviews mentioning waffles
The Waffle Window runs griddle-to-griddle in waffle ratings with Screen Door, its fellow Portlander, but it’s a completely different type of restaurant. The Window serves all waffles, all the time, taking the Liege sweet and savory categories to new heights. Yelp faves include the Three Bs topped with bacon, brie, and basil  (“The B’s should stand for big bold and beautiful!” writes Patrick S. of Hacienda Heights, Calif.), while the Whole Farm lives up to its name with a heap of pepper bacon, spinach, mushroom, roasted pepper, tomato, and marinated chèvre. “Goodness on a waffle and it is the best waffle that you will ever taste,” says Laurie D. of Vancouver, Wash. On the sweet side, try the Blue Tuffet with fresh blueberries, blueberry cinnamon compote, and a drizzle of Seville orange curd over fresh whipped cream. Or the Blueberry Cheesecake topped with cheesecake pudding. Or the Banarumba heaped with banana caramel sauce and granola crunch. Or the … take your pick. They all look great. 

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The Griffon Pub takes chicken and waffles to a whole other level. Photo: Averill E., Yelp

The Griffon Pub, 2470 Military Road, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
4.25 stars, 35 reviews mentioning waffles
As you drive north on Military Road, past the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls and the Chili’s, Applebee’s, and Olive Garden, the Griffin Pub emerges like some gastro oasis.
Tucked in a menu that includes plenty of fresh fish, Kona coffee hanger steak, a few poutines, and a weekly selection of wild game burgers is the chicken and waffle sandwich. For this Yelp favorite the good folks at the Griffin take a fresh, sliced Belgian chive waffle and layer it with southern spiced, buttermilk-battered panko fried chicken breast; jalapeno coleslaw; Applewood smoked bacon; Wisconsin cheddar; and spicy maple mayonnaise.  “My mind was blown first bite. I know it sounds crazy but it was so perfectly balanced I couldn’t think of anything to make it better,” writes Nick C. of Buffalo. Crazy? No, Nick, it sounds absolutely delicious. One or two or three of the Griffon’s 50 hand-selected beers could make it taste even better.

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The sweet Sriracha chicken and waffles shines on Café Rue’s menu. Photo: Christine P., Yelp

Cafe Rue, 11120 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, Md.
4.25 stars, 40 reviews mentioning waffles
Café Rue offers up a few waffle dishes, including classic chicken and waffles, red velvet, and pulled pork with a cheddar cornbread waffle. But the sweet Sriracha chicken and waffles is the hands-down Yelper favorite. “The flavoring of the sweet syrup and the hot Sriracha are the perfect balance … the waffle was pillowy and soft,” writes local Toya J. “Jesus, take the fork!” Actually, you might want to keep it to use on some of the limited, creative brunch specials. The red velvet waffle lamb sliders with sharp cheddar cheese and sweet potato fries would definitely be one of them.

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Picture perfect; The Nest’s bacon waffle. Photo: Elizabeth I, Yelp

The Nest, 9260 Alondra Boulevard, Bellflower, Calif.
4.24 stars, 151 reviews mentioning waffles
Michael Jackson Mondays, Hip-Hop Fridays and “unlimited hugs and high fives” give the Nest a funky vibe that Yelpers like almost as much at the joint’s Bacon Waffle. What’s not to like: pieces of bacon in the batter and house-made bacon whiskey syrup. “The bacon waffles blew my mind,” writes Edward M. of Whittier, keeping with the vibe. The mint, mojito iced coffee will do the same.

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Just beginning with Day Day’s all-you-can special. Photo: Day Day’s

Day Day’s BBQ & Waffle House, 994 E Holt Boulevard, Pomona, Calif.
4.22 stars 70 reviews mentioning waffles
Day Day’s is the type of “hole in the wall” people drive by without giving it much thought. But then they try it — maybe based on a friend’s recommendation, an online review, or nagging curiosity — and they can’t stop thinking about it. “I had low expectations when we arrived but I was totally blown away,” writes Marion F. of Pasadena. Yelpers say Day Day’s extremely friendly staff serves some of the best fried chicken in the area, while the waffles are cooked the way they should: crispy on the outside, light and airy inside. You can also order just about anything on the menu anytime of the day. “Tried the chicken and waffles, catfish and waffles, steak and waffles and none of them were disappointing,” says Marc M. of Henderson, Nevada. Make sure to wash everything down with a mug of Day Day’s grape Kool-Aid. 

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Did your favorite waffle place make the list? If not, let us know what it is below.