The good news keeps on rolling in for the South Loop. On Monday, Pita Heaven officially opened its doors and now news comes that Waffles will open just a few blocks south on Michigan Avenue.
The restaurant, from current Japonais manager Alex Hernandez, is aiming to open June 29 and will bring new breakfast and lunch offerings to the area. As the name suggests, the main focus here will be on waffles, with two varieties of Belgian waffles: Liege and Brussels.
Hernandez explained that Liege waffles, created in the 18th century, are the more common type of waffle found in Belgium. It's a richer, denser and sweeter variety that incorporates bits of pearl sugar that caramelize on the waffle's exterior when baked. Brussels waffles, on the other hand, tend to be lighter and thicker with larger pockets and rectangular sides. All waffles at Waffles can be served with blackberry or fig compote, strawberry or rhubarb; and fresh bananas and hazelnut chocolate spread.
But Waffles will also have a half dozen or so signature waffles, both sweet and savory, including Red Velvet (red velvet waffles with cherry compote and whipped cream cheese); Green Tea (green tea waffle with lemon ginger chantilly cream, topped with ground pistachio); Albondigas (pork and lamb meatballs in a spicy tomato stew atop an asiago mint waffle); and the Chicken and Bacon (bacon waffle, fried chicken drum and thigh with a spicy maple syrup).
Other food offerings at Waffles, which may feature a kids menu for the families in the neighborhood, include design-your-own omelets and scrambles; steak and egg torta; chipped beef hash and eggs; veggie burgers; short rib sandwich; a Cuban sandwich; chopped salad; panzanella salad and more. The menu is being finalized by chef Jason HIlgers (Japonais; The Bristol) and will also include gluten-free waffles and feature Allen Brothers meats in many of the dishes. Most things on the menu will land under $10.
The2,700 square-foot space has dramatic 34-foot ceilings with exposed HVAC duct work; charcoal gray-painted walls with splashes of orange, yellow and red; pendant lamps; a few TVs throughout the restaurant and seating for 100, which includes two 12-seat communal tables and 10 seats at a bar fronting the open kitchen that will be textured stainless steel with white corian countertops. Hernandez has also created a semi-private, glass-enclosed room for small groups or midweek business meetings; the space even has a flat-screen TV and A/V hookup for computers.
Waffles, which will be open seven days a week, will also feature an express to-go area that will have pastries created by Japonais' pastry chef Kim Delost, as well as salads and sandwiches. Waffles will be BYO until Hernandez can secure a liquor license, but with fresh-squeezed juices, what could be better with some waffles than a mimosa for breakfast?
· Pita Heaven Opens, Offering Fast-Casual Mediterranean [~EChi~]