Guilty Pleasures

Meet the Wapanada: Phoenix's Glorious Waffle & Empanada Mashup

The Guilty Pleasure: Wapanada
Where to Get It: Greater Than Coffee
Price: $6.50
What it Really Costs: Your daily recommended allowance of carbs. But it's worth it. 

New York gave the world the Cronut™. Los Angeles fired back with the brookie (brownie + cookie). But downtown Phoenix, dare we say, is the birthplace of an even more gloriously indulgent culinary mashup: the wapanada.

You may have heard rumblings about the wapanada around downtown Phoenix, where it first made its appearance about a year ago. Maybe you heard rumors about a golden-brown delicacy stuffed with a stupefying assortment of sweet and savory fillings like cinnamon peaches, smoked pull pork and roast beef.

We are happy to report the rumors are true. 

You’ll find the wapanada at Greater Than Coffee, the storefront coffee shop located inside the Co+Hoots co-working space on the corner of 11th Street and Washington. It's the brainchild of Joseph Cuervas, owner of Greater Than Coffee.

On any given day, you'll usually find Cuevas behind the counter at the coffee shop, where, along with making killer lattes and gourmet teas, he makes a limited daily supply of wapanadas featuring different sweet and savory fillings every day. Most are paired with a complementary dipping sauce.

On a recent visit, we snatched up the last remaining wapanada. It was of the savory variety, stuffed with vegan turkey sausage and crowned with a generous scoop of roasted red pepper hummus. It came with a spattering of marmalade and two slices of soft Brie on the side.

At first glance, the wapanada looked like an ordinary waffle. It bore the classic honeycomb pattern, crispy edges and alluring scent of warm, toasted carbs. It smelled great, yes, but tasted even better. The turkey sausage, baked into the middle of the waffle, was juicy and peppery. The scoop of zesty hummus kept the wapanada from becoming too dry, and the sweet marmalade on the side added a nice flourish of sweetness to the plate. 

The most remarkable thing about the wapanada is its hybrid dough batter, which is constructed from a blend of filo dough and traditional waffle mix. What could have gone terribly wrong doesn't. It is flaky and buttery on the inside, nicely crispy and brown on the outside.

The unique batter blend gives the waffle cake heft and depth, turning the breakfast snack into a full-blown meal. It's a fiendishly good addition to downtown Phoenix breakfast and lunch options, and we can't wait to get our hands on another one. 

New York can have its Cronut™, and L.A. can gorge itself on brookies. Phoenix will be just fine. We have the wapanada. 

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Patricia Escárcega was Phoenix New Times' food critic.

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