Embarking into downtown Washington, D.C., for creative waffles at the iconic Wicked Waffle is no longer feasible amid new daily life defined by social distancing and isolation. It will be a while before anyone seeking a satisfying but simultaneously light breakfast will be able to stroll into the lively atmosphere of Wicked Waffle and agonize over whether to order something savory or sweet.
Nonetheless, when this pandemic ceases, it will be incumbent on all Americans to support local businesses in any way they can. Furthermore, once social distancing ends, I can’t think of many better ways to celebrate than indulging in a delicious waffle with a big group of friends. In the meantime, just know that Wicked Waffle remains available for takeout and delivery through Postmates, so these delicious, made-to-order breakfasts are still within your grasp.
A cheap and delicious breakfast in D.C. can be hard to come by. Eating out for the most important meal of the day can often involve a long wait, expensive entrees and mediocre food. Bagel and coffee shops can offer a quick bite for a low price, but with the exception of Call Your Mother and Ellē, most options in D.C. sacrifice quality for convenience. Wicked Waffle exceeds the norms of a D.C. breakfast, offering fun, inexpensive and delicious waffle dishes from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
I was initially skeptical of this breakfast spot and its business concept when I entered its minimally decorated downtown location on I Street with an admittedly pessimistic attitude. The shop’s menu is straightforward yet incredibly diverse, with savory and sweet options alike. Offerings include breakfast treats, waffle sandwiches, open face waffles and dessert waffles. A glance at the expansive menu initially intensified my skepticism, however, as an increase in variety too often signifies a reduction in quality.
My fears were dashed immediately after my first bite of their strawberry and Nutella waffle. The waffle was light and fluffy with crispy edges and a soft, doughy center. Frankly, though the waffle was topped with heaps of Nutella, whipped cream and strawberries, I didn’t feel guilty or sluggish after eating it. The waffles were not too thick, nor did they have an artificial or excessively sweet flavor.
The waffle’s lightness may be a result of the Wicked Waffle mantra: “No Butter, No Syrup… Quite simply, we leave added calories and artificiality to our competitors.” This simple, effective philosophy inspired me to further explore a variety of the shop’s cheap breakfast and lunch waffle options.
Wicked Waffle’s menu caters to culinary classicists and adventurers alike. Anything you would ordinarily find inside of a bagel or a sandwich is placed on top of or in between delicious waffles. You can order traditional deli combinations like a bacon, egg and cheese, a waffle with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers, a fried chicken waffle, or a waffle club sandwich. But for waffle purists, there are plenty of sweet waffle options complemented by toppings like Nutella, caramel, whipped cream, chocolate, bananas, strawberries and even ice cream.
For those looking to be bold with their order, Wicked Waffle offers options such as a French toast waffle, a prosciutto waffle, a strawberry cheesecake waffle and an apple and cinnamon waffle. No review of Wicked Waffle would be complete without mentioning the ultrapopular and strikingly innovative Peking duck waffle that consists of tender roasted duck, crispy skin, hoisin sauce and sweet plum sauce all wedged between two waffles. The controversial fusion dish, like the restaurant itself, initially gave me serious doubts. Only after trying it did I reluctantly admit my misjudgment — it was delicious.
The array of options doesn’t end there. Perhaps most astonishingly, Wicked Waffle offers gluten-free and vegan waffle options. As someone who often dines out with friends and family with these dietary restrictions, I understand how difficult finding a quality waffle can be. No longer do those with dietary restrictions have to sit and watch as their friends devour waffles in front of them.
A once routine outing to a waffle shop in D.C. now seems like a distant fantasy since the coronavirus has upended all of our lives in different ways. When we can once again make culinary explorations, this downtown waffle option will certainly warrant an escape from campus. In the meantime, follow the advice of health professionals — the better we all engage in social distancing, the sooner a Wicked Waffle can once again be a possibility!
Hal Rogers is a sophomore in the College. Exploring Eateries will appear in print and online every other week.