50 States of Waffles

Sweet or savory, doused in maple syrup, smothered in gravy or topped with fried chicken, waffles - those fluffy, crispy breakfast foods - deserve recognition for their impressive versatility. With our picks for the best in the country, get ready to channel your inner Leslie Knope, all the way from Hawaii to Maine.

By: Patty Lee

Photo By: Aysegul D. Sanford

Photo By: Bradley Jensen


Photo By: Matthew Celeste

Photo By: Sheldon Alexander Hamilton

Photo By: Chef Jamie Saunders and Coastal

Photo By: Jim Peterson

Bad Wolf Bakery & Bistro in Bend, Oregon

If the large map that graces Bad Wolf's wall is any indication, the bakery is exceptionally proud of its Oregon roots. The Oregon pride is also evident in the ingredients selected by the Duebers, the family that's run the all-day cafe since 2014. For the remarkably crisp cardamom waffle, they use housemade vanilla bean yogurt, local honey and farmers' market berries to tame the spice's strong aroma - it's a reflection of all that Central Oregon offers.

Gram & Dun in Kansas City, Missouri

The G&D waffle is deceptively simple. The ingredient list is short, with no wild or trendy additions beyond the basics like flour, butter, milk and eggs. But culinary expertise gives these wedges the perfect texture: Executive Chef Nathan Nichols separates the eggs, beating the whites to stiff peaks before folding them into everything else to create an extra-airy batter. With the ideal crispy-to-fluffy ratio, this plate confirms that not all waffles are created equal.

Ncounter in Tempe, Arizona

It doesn't matter if you're an early bird or a late riser, brunchers stream into Ncounter until the lively cafe closes at 3 p.m. Each visitor has his or her own go-to order; for many, it's the gluten-free red-velvet waffle. High-quality cocoa powder gives the vibrant red wedges their deep chocolate flavor, with egg whites to keep the interior delicate and light. Thanks to a special flour mix, the waffle is gluten-free, but it's certainly not guilt-free — the finishing cream cheese icing is rich and luscious enough to elevate this to cake-level indulgence.

Butch & Babe's in Burlington, Vermont

Owner Kortnee Bush and Chef Jaclyn Major are no strangers to fine dining, having worked respectively at Twin Farms in Vermont and Savoy in New York City. They use their experience to craft elegant New American dishes that show off what Vermont has to offer, but cultivate a friendly, relaxed atmosphere that makes Butch & Babe's feel more like a neighborhood hangout. At brunch, expect to see guests diving into several of Major's waffle creations, including a buckwheat-coconut number that's both vegan and gluten-free, and changing specials like a bacon-scallion-cheddar waffle finished with habanero maple.

Waffle Champion in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

After a successful stint as a food truck, Waffle Champion found a permanent home in Midtown. Its owner, Todd Woodruff, is no stranger to the Oklahoma City dining scene — he trained in the kitchens of popular OKC restaurants Boulevard Steakhouse and Cheever's, and brings some of that culinary finesse to his menu. Diners can choose a classic buttermilk waffle or Belgian liege as the base for thoughtfully curated combinations such as the Blueberry Sunrise (berry-thyme compote, lemon curd, goat cheese spread, oat crumbles) or Monte Cristo (smoked ham, gruyere, strawberry-anise compote), and wash it all down with craft sodas, cold brew or housemade cereal milk.

The Publican in Chicago, Illinois

Other dishes at cult-beloved The Publican have come and gone, but the Belgian waffle has been a brunch menu staple since the award-winning beer hall debuted in 2008. Cooked in a seasoned cast iron maker imported from Belgium, the waffle is as delicious as it is simple - each fluffy square is only accompanied by a hefty pat of housemade honey butter and seasonal preserves. Diners can also add ice cream when ordering the waffle for dessert.

Milktooth in Indianapolis, Indiana

There is no such thing as a boring meal at Milktooth, the wildly imaginative restaurant from Chef Jonathan Brooks. Housed inside a former auto repair garage, the modern-day diner has become known for imaginative twists on brunch fare, including Belgian waffles that change with the seasons (and the imaginative whims of pastry pro Zoe Taylor). Come summer, you may find shredded Indiana zucchini mixed into the sourdough batter; winter months could yield persimmon butter and candied pecans. Even the coffee is no average cup of Joe — pair your next-level waffle with an equally unique drink like the Blvck Bear, a shot of espresso mixed with tart cherry syrup and steamed milk.

Dame's Chicken & Waffles in Durham, North Carolina

Damien 'Dame' Moore and Randy Wadsworth may humbly use the tagline "Almost World Famous" to describe their fried chicken and waffles, but the crowd that gathers outside Dame's three outposts proves that the signature Dame's dish has serious star power. Each of the menu's takes on the iconic American meal — with tongue-in-cheek monikers like the Carolina Cockerel and Frizzled Fowl — starts with three components: chicken, waffle and shmear, a flavored butter that they claim will make diners forget the syrup. Waffles are available in five different flavors, each one fluffy, craggy-edged and as good as the one before it, with a vegan option.

Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, California

There's no such thing as a slow day at Tanya Holland's perpetually packed Brown Sugar Kitchen. Locals and visitors line up daily to try the acclaimed chef's inventive soul food, which includes a yeasty, cornmeal waffle inspired by California cooking icon Marion Cunningham. The dish's other components - juicy herbed buttermilk fried chicken and a sticky apple cider syrup - are dedicated to the two other important culinary figures in Holland's life: her mom and grandmother.

The Chocolate Season in Algona, Iowa

Waffle Saturday is the brainchild of "waffle master" Adam Schonert and co-owner Erika Jensen, a chocolatier who trained at the famed L.A. Burdick before opening The Chocolate Season in her hometown. The seasonally rotating menu is as decadent as it gets, with combinations like the Baconator (a smoky bacon waffle strewn with whipped butter, salted candied pecans and maple syrup) and the Salted Chocolate (a cocoa-infused waffle with Nutella, whipped cream, caramel sauce and salted caramelized cornflakes). They're only available during morning hours, which means you have full permission to eat dessert for breakfast.

Sweet Iron Waffle Bar in Seattle, Washington

If the scent of warming waffle batter doesn't clue in passers-by to the waffle magic of Sweet Iron Waffle Bar, they'll likely notice the neon signs proclaiming "Hot! Waffles!" Like the liege-style pastries owner Adrienne Jeffrey devoured as a teen living in Belgium, the waffles at Sweet Iron are heated in cast-iron presses, serving as warm, soft canvases for an array of toppings. The bruleed banana is a local favorite, featuring caramelized slices of fruit with housemade salted caramel and vanilla whipped cream; peanut butter lovers will appreciate pastry chef Dana Cree's homage to the King, which adds bacon and peanut butter caramel to the mix.

FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Food on a stick is synonymous with the Minnesota State Fair, where everything from Scotch eggs to spaghetti and meatballs has been kebab-ed. At FireLake Grill House, the waffle-on-a-stick is available year-round, made from a 14-year-old sourdough starter affectionately dubbed "Bob." Buttermilk and malted waffle mix enhance the sourdough’s distinctive tang, while a light sprinkle of powdered sugar and dollop of whipped cream lend just the right amount of sweetness.

At The Corner in Little Rock, Arkansas

Located — you guessed it — at the corner of Markham and Scott Streets, this family-run diner is one of downtown Little Rock's busiest brunch spots, thanks to its menu of farm-fresh favorites. For its popular Chicken-N-Waffle, the restaurant sources poultry from Decatur's Crystal Lake Farms. The chicken strips are soaked in buttermilk and breaded in a proprietary spice mix, then fried 'til crispy. The juicy pieces are placed on a buttermilk waffle with seasonal berries, housemade honey butter and the only ingredient that doesn't boast Arkansas roots: Canadian maple syrup.

Bruges Waffles & Frites in Salt Lake City, Utah

In 2004, Bruges native Pierre Vandamme took to Main Street to sell liege waffles based on an old family recipe. His vending cart was such a success, Vandamme teamed up with two more Belgian natives, expanding the business to a fleet of roving trucks and storefronts in downtown Salt Lake City and Provo. As their first semi-savory addition to the menu, the trio conjured up the Pig on a Cloud, a crunchy liege waffle adorned with whipped cream, caramel sauce and sizzling strips of bacon.

Elm City Social in New Haven, Connecticut

At Elm Street Social, diners are encouraged to share — the word social is in the restaurant's name, after all — so you're likely to spot multiple forks digging into red velvet waffles at numerous tables. Made from a Belgian waffle dough infused with cocoa powder, the vivid red rounds are finished with fresh berries, powdered sugar and creme Anglaise. Wash it down with one of the gastropub's signature boozy punches, available in pitchers or bowls depending on the party size (or your imbibing capabilities).

Waffle in Providence, Rhode Island

Rhode Island's capital city is in the midst of a baked-good renaissance, thanks to top-tier businesses like Rebelle Artisan Bagels, PVDonuts and the matter-of-factly named Waffle, where the liege style reigns supreme. The brioche-like circles come plain, but those looking to expand their palates should order one of Waffle's signature creations. There's the year-round breakfast waffle, which caps the liege rounds with a fried egg, cheddar and local maple syrup, or seasonally changing specials inspired by classic desserts.

Phillips Avenue Diner in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

It's not just the food that conjures childhood joy for the South Dakotans who visit Phillips Avenue Diner — it's the whole old-school set-up. Outfitted with retro soda fountain fixtures, the eatery specializes in greasy-spoon classics like omelets, pancakes and crispy made-to-order waffles. Two are available daily: the Belgian with powdered sugar and maple syrup and the Sunrise, piled high with fresh fruit, strawberry syrup and whipped cream. Aficionados should come on Waffle Wednesdays for creative specials.

Piggy Smalls in Oahu, Hawaii

Envisioned as a younger, hipper sibling to chef Andrew Le's The Pig & The Lady, Piggy Smalls has a more playful ambiance, both in decor (see: neon sign, artsy mural wall) and food. The James Beard Foundation Award nominee lessens the hefty task of choosing between a waffle and a cinnamon roll, by creating a brunch mash-up that marries the best of both. Dubbed the Cinna Rolffle, the hybrid starts as a housemade roll infused with cinnamon and orange zest; the finished bun is then pressed flat inside an iron, then plated with butterscotch sauce, icing, toasted macadamia nuts and miso-caramel apples — proving that yes, you can indeed waffle it.

Folk Art Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia

Housed inside a brick-walled building in Atlanta's Inman Park, Folk Art dishes up elevated Southern fare with a side of downhome comfort. Chefs blend sweet potato into a buttermilk batter, forming a waffle base for combinations like peanut butter-banana, chocolate s'mores and the aptly-named Foul Play, which pairs a waffle with succulent fried chicken and peach compote made with Georgia fruit and — since it is in the South — a generous pour of Clyde May's whiskey.

Sugar's Place Downtown in Jackson, Mississippi

Chef Donovan Barner may have had his three sons in mind when he perfected waffles, but their fan base has expanded to include most of the residents of Jackson. The recipe he formulated is simple, with one unique tweak - Barner subs brown sugar in for white, which his mom - and Sugar's Place co-owner - Glenda says is the key to their waffles' caramelized edges. The rounds come with fried chicken and service so warm, you feel like you're having dinner at the Barners' home.

Hot Suppa in Portland, Maine

After embarking on a culinary tour of the States, Portland natives Moses and Alec Sabina returned home with one goal in mind: to share a taste of the South in the North. That's why Hot Suppa's buttermilk waffle is speckled with pecans and not New England blueberries, though its crusty pockets are drenched in Maine-tapped maple syrup. At dinner, a plain waffle is also available, paired with sweet tea-brined chicken and whipped butter.

Connie's Chicken & Waffles in Baltimore, Maryland

Launched in 2016, Connie's Chicken & Waffles is a relative newcomer to Baltimore's famed Lexington Market, but its fried chicken and waffles have generated a following to rival longtime mainstays like Berger's Bakery and Faidley's Seafood. There's also a second, larger branch inside downtown's Charles Plaza Eatery, where you're likely to see owners Khari and Shawn Parker cooking alongside the restaurant's namesake, their mom, Connie. Together, the siblings are sharing one of their all-time childhood favorites: succulent chicken tenders piled atop a soft buttermilk waffle dusted in powdered sugar and maple syrup. Mom should be proud.

Tia B's La Waffleria in Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Waffles Rancheros at this Albuquerque outlet capture so much of what New Mexico has to offer. The hearty meal starts with a quintessential New Mexican crop, blue corn, which goes into the waffle. The indigo-hued round is blanketed in slow-roasted carne adovada, cheddar cheese and fried eggs, then smothered in two sauces, one made from spicy red chiles and the other from green Hatch peppers.

Waffles & Wedges in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There are no boring waffles at this Philly liege shop operated by Andrea Capecci and Laura Judy - each item on the menu seems to one-up the one before it. The Cookie Monster is amped up with speculoos, cookie dough, Oreo bits and whipped cream. On the savory side, the Buff Waffle Chick is loaded with bite-sized fried chicken, Buffalo wing sauce and ranch dressing. What does the other half of the café's name stand for? Baked potato wedges, which also come with a dizzying multitude of toppings.

Toasted Mango Cafe in Sarasota, Florida

With one of the country's most-beautiful beaches just steps away, Toasted Mango Cafe serves several tropical items that perfectly set the tone for a day in the sun. The morning menu includes an excellent chef's special waffle created by owners Sandi Wagner and Kimberly Duffy. The airy malted discs — pressed for exactly three minutes — arrive crisp and warm, adorned with cubes of ripe mango, toasted coconut flakes and whipped cream. It's a true taste of paradise.

Josephine House in Austin, Texas

Originally conceived as a private events offshoot for its sister restaurant, Jeffrey's, the charming Josephine House has established its own powerhouse reputation in Austin. Sophisticated spins on brunch basics make Josephine House , which is adorably situated in a converted house, a dining destination on weekends. Start with baked goods, like a Nutella morning bun, then move onto waffles. For its variation on chicken and waffles, the restaurant swaps the fried stuff for herb-flecked chicken sausages. The snappy links — ground in-house using thighs from Dewberry Hills Farm — sit atop a crispy yeast-leavened waffle with a fried egg, fresno pepper butter and maple syrup. It's sweet, salty, spicy homespun flavor with every bite.

Stuffed Crepes & Waffles in Bozeman, Montana

Inspiration comes from near and far at this Bozeman crepe and waffle shop, where menu items nod at their origin city or state. Both the Wisconsin and Vermont options highlight cheese, for example, while bananas and caramel sauce - from local confectioner Bequet - play a starring role in the Rio and Cusco. The Maui - a buttery waffle loaded with sliced bananas, toasted almonds, shredded coconut and dark chocolate sauce - is an especially good tropical escape in the winter months, when hefty snowfalls are the norm in Bozeman.

Founding Farmers in Washington D.C.

The key to the longstanding success of Founding Farmers' chicken and waffles? Quality ingredients and precise cooking. The birds are brined for a full day before they're fried (in a pan, staying true to Southern tradition), while the from-scratch waffle batter hits the iron just before the plate is served. A creamy white gravy ties the two elements together into one cohesive entree.

GonZo AK in Juneau, Alaska

Wife-and-husband owners Aims and Alex Alf draw inspiration for GonZo AK's eclectic menu from both their surroundings and personal backgrounds. The Everything Salmon - an everything-spice waffle with house-smoked salmon and dill cream cheese - is an ode to their home state, while the EekaRoo pays homage to Aims' Filipino heritage. The sweet potato waffle is crowned with ube, torched marshmallow meringues and pie crumbs, each element piped on so beautifully, the plate looks more like a work of art than breakfast.

Johnny D's Waffles and Bakery in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Cooking is a family affair for Jamie Saunders, who grew up helping out at her dad's New York restaurants. After relocating to Myrtle Beach in 2014, the Culinary Institute of America grad struck out on her own, launching a breakfast and lunch nook that shines a spotlight on her baking background. The chef's pastry expertise is the reason Johnny D's red velvet waffles rise above the rest: Not content with simply adding some red food coloring and cocoa powder, Saunders captures the essence of the iconic cake by giving the waffles a cake-like consistency. She combines classic waffle mix with elements of her chocolate and white cakes to form a batter that's already rich on its own, but even more decadent with a finishing drizzle of cream cheese icing.

Urban Farmer in Denver, Colorado

As its name suggests, farming plays an integral role in the food at this seasons-driven steakhouse, and many dishes pop up to showcase special seasonal ingredients. The maple granola waffles were conceived as a way to showcase Chef Chris Starkus' rooftop honey. Granola is pressed into the batter, yielding crunchy, golden beauties that are loaded with local yogurt, Colorado Palisade peaches and, of course, the buzzed-about honey.

Little Lion Ice Cream in Wichita, Kansas

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention; it's an age-old adage that's proven true in the founding of Little Lion Ice Cream. When Jubilee and Ian Miller couldn't find top-quality pints in Wichita, they took matters into their own hands, churning batches in a machine purchased as a birthday gift. Two carts and a cafe later, they aren't just making the best scoops in town, but also cooking up exceptional waffles. Fluffy rounds act as a base for Little Lion's creative flavors — think lime-coconut-avocado and mascarpone-beet — along with fruit compote and other toppings made from local ingredients.

SoBou in New Orleans, Louisiana

If there's pressure in being one of the youngest of the Commander’s Palace family, SoBou isn't showing it. The lively French Quarter saloon — located south of Bourbon Street (get it?) — matches its siblings' reputations, serving small-ish plates with Cajun and Creole influences. Chicken and waffles get a luxurious makeover in the form of crispy quail, a fried egg, Crystal hot sauce hollandaise and a standout waffle made with pepper jack cheese and cornmeal. The $32 brunch comes with an appetizer and dessert, so plan to arrive hungry.

LuLu's Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia

Every component of LuLu's chicken and waffle platter is thoughtfully crafted by Chef Mike McClure. Not fully satisfied with the standalone red velvet waffle recipe the restaurant had been using, McClure tweaked it to stand up to the addition of fried poultry. His quest for fried chicken and waffle perfection paid off, yielding a complementary balance of a savory, crackly-skinned breast with a subtly sweet waffle that pulls equal weight in the dynamic pairing.

Funk 'N Waffles in Syracuse, New York

Not all late-night cooking experiments result in a wildly popular waffle shop, but Kyle Corea and Adam Gold's did, during their senior year at Syracuse University. Armed with a small-business prize from their alma mater, the iron-pressing entrepreneurs opened Funk 'N Waffles in downtown Syracuse, bringing their eclectic rounds, plus live music, to the masses. Their biggest hit? The Jive Turkey, a Thanksgiving special (think stuffing waffle with roasted turkey and mashed potatoes) that was so in demand, it's now a permanent fixture.

deBoer Bakkerij in Holland, Michigan

Chef Mitchiel deBoer believes "that every great breakfast place needs a solid waffle," a motto we wholeheartedly endorse. At his bakery, which has roots in the original Holland, the buttermilk waffle mix is made from scratch every morning, with batter pressed to order, so each guest gets one that's hot and tender. The toughest part is choosing what toppings to add: caramelized bananas, fresh strawberries or deBoer's cinnamon-flecked Dutch apples.

Petrow's Restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska

Home to one of the last remaining soda fountains in the Cornhusker State, Petrow's has been a Nebraska institution since 1903, when the Petrow brothers starting slinging ice cream in Fremont. The business has moved and passed through the family over the years — it's now run by Nick and Shelley Petrow — but the mission remains the same: to serve "Good Food Always." Waffles with ice cream have been a tradition since the inception of the diner in 1957, and locals continue to gather today for scoops of black walnut ice cream — made from local dairy — on Belgian waffles infused with malt powder.

TIABI Coffee & Waffle in Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegan and vegetarian options are not just afterthoughts at TIABI. The Vegas cafe — its name is short for To Inspire and Be Inspired — serves as a creative channel for owner Tiffany Stiles, whose culinary experiments led to a fully vegan waffle using a top-secret batter mix. The popular West Coast waffle sandwich isn't vegetarian (there's grilled chicken and bacon), but there are plenty of other options for those looking to cut out meat and dairy.

sam a.m. in Jersey City, New Jersey

The phrase "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is not taken lightly at sam a.m., where the morning meal is treated with the utmost respect. Settle into the cozy Jersey City canteen with a cup of Stumptown coffee before tucking into Sam Kirk's signature chicken and waffles. It's not the usual Southern rendition, but a version that remains true to Kirk's Appalachian roots. In place of fried poultry and maple, expect fluffy buttermilk waffles and succulent roast chicken drowned in a sage gravy and sweet-tart cranberry syrup.

Cup-Burrr'n in Dickinson, North Dakota

This lively North Dakota café - with two locations and a food truck - specializes in the unconventional pairing of bubble tea and waffles. More than a dozen variations of waffles are available, including some round, some square and one on a stick. Sugar lovers can opt for the cinnamon-sugar- and ice cream-capped Churro or graham cracker-dusted S'mores; those with more of a savory appetite can choose between the Pizza Waffle, topped with marinara and pepperoni, or a grilled cheese number (tomato soup optional, but highly recommended).

The Farmer's Daughter in North Easton, Massachusetts

Her childhood on her parents' potato farm in rural Maine encouraged Chef Chandra Gouldrup to build her restaurant's menu around the bounty from growers near her Massachusetts restaurant. Partners are proudly displayed on a giant chalkboard overlooking the dining room. On weekends, apple cider from Boston's Downeast Cider House takes center stage in the form of buttery waffles with cider infused in both the batter and in the finishing sauce.

What the Waffle in Columbus, Ohio

Waffle brunches were a longstanding Sunday tradition for Gayle Troy and her family, so she's passed the tradition along for hungry Columbus residents at her What the Waffle. Diners flock to the Historic King Lincoln District for Troy's buttermilk waffles, deep-pocketed rounds that cling lovingly to maple syrup. Troy also uses her waffle-making expertise to give back to her community, employing young women who have aged out of the local foster care system, and serving waffle dinners at a nearby group home.

The Waffle Iron in Memphis, Tennessee

The brunch specialists at The Waffle Iron know quite a bit about Southern cooking. There's a whole section of the menu devoted to chicken and waffles, where creative spins are offered alongside the classic combination. One inventive option is a spin on eggs Benedict, pairing fluffy waffle wedges and country-style fried chicken with ham-braised spinach, poached eggs and creamy Hollandaise sauce.

Waffle Cabin in Snowshoe, West Virginia

Few things are better than a hot cup of chocolate and a waffle, especially on a cold winter's day. Tucked away on the peak of West Virginia's scenic Snowshoe Mountain, Waffle Cabin slings Belgian-style rectangles drizzled with chocolate and ideal with toasty beverages. In warmer months, when mountain bikers traverse Snowshoe, ice cream waffle sandwiches come out of hibernation.

Belgiis in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Growing up, Mason Rudarmel was a self-proclaimed Eggo kid. He took his love of the toaster pastry to new heights with the opening of Belgiis, where from-scratch waffles hold savory and sweet fillings. Rudarmel's take on a breakfast sandwich is the restaurant's trademark, a towering stack of aged Wisconsin cheddar, cage-free eggs, smoked bacon or sausage, maple syrup and a spicy red pepper aioli.

SuperChefs in Louisville, Kentucky

If you feel your brunch senses tingling, then you must not be far from SuperChefs, the superhero-themed eatery that's hero-worshipped by Louisville locals. Darnell Ferguson's origin story is filled with hardships - including losing the restaurant's first location to a devastating fire - but the chef bounced back to share more of his imaginative cooking. Breakfast is an especially huge draw, with creative spins on omelets, French toast and fan-favorite waffles. In true Kentucky fashion, there's a waffle infused with bourbon, but SuperChefs' crown jewel is the Triple Threat, a bright red stack that utilizes strawberries three ways: as syrup, icing and compote.

Corbet's Cabin in Teton Village, Wyoming

Accessible only by tram, Corbet's Cabin serves as a rest stop for weary-legged skiers looking to indulge in a waffle pick-me-up. Heated on a vintage wood stove, the waffles are especially light, thanks to Jackson Hole's not-so-secret ingredient: the altitude. At 10,450-feet, the air is less dense and so, too, is the waffle batter. Once warmed up, they're slathered with one of four toppings, though you’ll be hard-pressed to find any maple — Corbet's avoids the syrup so you won't have to hit the slopes with sticky hands.

The Perfect Blend in Newark, Delaware

The first time Jeanne Kress tasted a liege waffle, she experienced a revelation that ultimately prompted her to open her waffle-slinging coffee shop, The Perfect Blend, a stone's throw from the University of Delaware's Newark campus. Vanilla and beet sugar pearls imported from France produce the liege waffle's signature caramelized crevices, which Kress embellishes with fresh strawberries, Nutella or pulled pork. Of course, no stop at a place called The Perfect Blend would be complete without coffee - here, the beans are sourced from Pike Creek Coffee Roasterie.

Purple Finch Cafe in Bedford, New Hampshire

State fair season is a time that every New Hampshire resident looks forward to, including the team at Purple Finch Cafe. Motivated by his staff's favorite fair eats - pulled pork, cotton candy, apple cider doughnuts - owner Jeff Marshall conjured up the State Fair Waffle, a seasonal special that shows off the best of the Granite State. A plump cinnamon-scented cider waffle comes piled high with slow-roasted pulled pork, fresh apple slices, caramel and barbecue sauces and, as the final flourish, maple cotton candy from Fuller's Sugarhouse in Lancaster.

Waffle Me Up in Boise, Idaho

Josie and Hector Garcia's waffle business started as a humble stand at the Nampa Farmers' Market before it became a brick-and-mortar storefront in downtown Boise. While the location has changed, the liege waffle base has stayed the same, a yeast-risen dough studded with pearl sugar that caramelizes in the iron press. Waffle Me Up's most-popular combination, the BOBacado Deluxe, is the ultimate breakfast: a savory medley of melted havarti cheese, locally sourced bacon and fried egg, chopped basil, maple syrup and fresh avocado - because toast isn't the only thing that's better with some on top.

WaffleWorks in Birmingham, Alabama

Downtown Birmingham got its first food hall in 2017 and with it came WaffleWorks, an all-waffle vendor. Daniel Roberts helms one of a dozen stalls inside the historic Pizitz Building - named for the local department store that once occupied it - where he turns out inspired Southern combinations. Try a hashbrown breakfast waffle with bacon, or pulled pork on a waffle at lunch. Even shrimp and grits get the waffle treatment - a cornmeal batter is iron-pressed, then garnished with plump sauteed shrimp and spicy Cajun sausage.

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