Breakfast, the best and most important meal of the day, has an all-star confection in its ranks so good that even savory food lovers have to admit a craving every once and a while. No, we're not talking about pancakes. We're talking about the groovy, segmented, fluffy, and delicious waffle. Some prefer thinner waffles, while others go for fatty Belgian liege varieties. You can even go for a gluten-free or vegan waffle without losing out on flavor. No matter which waffle style you go for, there's a spot in town that can help you quell those waffle cravings.
Here are ten of our favorite places to get waffles in the Valley:
See also: 10 Best French Toasts in Metro Phoenix
If you think waffles have to be plain, think again and then head into Bragg's Factory Diner for a "What the Waff?!" Sweet and spiced, this coconut curry treat is much more than your average waffle. It's served with a heafty dollop of dairy-free butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top and with its unique flavor, that's really all this waffle needs. $7 gets you a "What the Waff?!" with your choice of a side like eggplant bacon, fresh fruit, or hash browns.
With so many hearty and healthy breakfast items, choosing your morning meal at Over Easy can be overwhelming. We like to play it safe with the strawberries and cream waffle. This batter-based beauty keeps it sweet and simple, which is rather refreshing in a day and age of food fusion, molecular gastronomy, and cappuccino-flavored potato chips.
Just about everyone knows Matt's Big Breakfast is one of the best places in town for a hearty start to the day. Favorites include the 5 Spot breakfast sandwich and the meaty Hog and Chick, but Matt's waffle is another don't-miss dish. The beauty of this starchy meal comes from its simplicity: a faintly vanilla-flavored waffle topped with a generous scoop of sweet cream butter and served with a side of bacon. Like everything else at Matt's, it's made with top-quality ingredients and to high standards. Alternating bites between the savory, salty breakfast meat and the fluffy, sweet waffle is pretty much breakfast heaven.
Craving waffles in the East Valley when it's too early to chase down a waffle truck? You're in luck. Jeanne Dahl's cheery Gilbert diner, JP Pancake, serves up not only her signature baked griddlecakes, but solid coffee and fluffy, malted Belgian waffles. These thick, breakfasty confections are crisped to a golden crust on the outside but actually cake-like on the inside -- and full of flavor. They hold up to plenty of whipped butter, syrup, or fancy toppings on offer, but they don't need to be dressed up. Hearty, gluten-free waffles are an option, too. Weekend mornings can mean a short wait, but waffles are their own reward.
Known primarily for their espresso and baked goods, Carmel's is a popular little breakfast spot for a bite before work or a weekend brunch. The waffles are no exception to the restaurant's delightful breakfasts, as they have a French toast-like quality to them that adds a little sweetness beyond that of standard waffle batter. Though not huge, Carmel's waffles are filling without losing the airiness that so many look for in the breakfast food. Served up with maple syrup and your choice of bacon or chicken, the waffle plates at Carmel's offer a sweet and savory combination sure to satisfy.
Here's the secret to the beauty of My Waffle Crush's Leige waffles: Belgian pearl sugar. The little nuggets of sweetness go directly into the pancake batter and caramelize when the waffles hits the griddle. The result is a product that's crispy and sweet on the exterior but still light and soft on the inside. If that's not enough to convince you that this truck is worth its salt -- er, sugar -- then consider the fact that you can top your waffle with fresh fruit, Nutella, ice cream, and our personal favorite, creamy Biscoff spread. The only downside is that My Waffle Crush tends to stick to the southeast Valley, making it hard to get to for CenPho folks.
Who would've thought that the waffle's soul mate would be fried chicken? Well, this classic soul food combo works and Lo-Lo's has perfected the art of both of the players involved. Sure, the fried chicken is moist and tender on the outside and crunchy and salty on the outside, but the real showstopper here is that waffle. It might be thin, but, don't worry, it can stand up to a healthy smattering of butter and as much syrup as you deem necessary. Plus, the cinnamony batter makes this waffle a-ok to eat without all of the toppings. If you're going the chicken and waffles route, though, we suggest buttering your waffle and the pouring syrup and Lo-Lo's hot sauce over both the chicken and waffle for a sweet, spicy, and deliciously sticky experience.
Breakfast and brunch are glam at Cafe Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho. Just walking to the restaurant across the lush property feels like a micro midcentury vacation. The restaurant, which offers a spacious patio and long breakfast bar, serves all the classics -- but for an elevated meal try the Crispy Thick Belgian Waffle. The waffle itself is pretty straightforward but the sun dried cherry butter served on top takes things to a whole new level. We love that it's fruity but slightly sour, ensuring that you don't have a sugar crash following your meal.
For those who like to start their day off on a sweet note, Bertha's Cafe offers a well-cooked waffle with all the fixings. The generous griddle item is piled high with bananas, strawberries, candied almonds, and whipped cream. With so much happening on just one waffle, you may tempted to just skip the maple syrup all together. Or go for the gold -- we won't judge.
How do you make a perfectly crisp dense waffle even better? Fill it with chocolate, duh. If you prefer your waffles on the sweet side but want it to fill you up like an entire meal, find the Waffle Love truck and order one of their custom creations. A "Chocolate Dream" waffle comes filled with rich dark chocolate and covered in bananas and cream, while an order of "The Works" gets you a waffle covered in fresh strawberries, cream and Biscoff spread. Waffle Love can primarily be found in the East Valley, but the magical truck works its way into Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale a couple of times per week.