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Waffle restaurant becomes a smashing success

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The Happy Go Clucky features a fried chicken breast, bacon and melted cheese.

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Christina Ruotolo

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Start with two bankers, one conversation over coffee in November 2016, an idea and a recipe, and you have Smashed Waffles. Founders Justin Cox and Hunter Harrison, dubbed the “Smash Brothers,” wanted to create a food business that was outside the box. They started with a dough recipe, simple but effective branding and started “smashing” and delivering waffles out of their home. It’s been almost two years since they opened their store front in the trendy uptown district, and Smashed Waffles has built a cult-like following of foodies of all ages.

The waffle recipe is simple. Smashed Waffles uses a sweet, yeast-based dough instead of a thin batter base, which allows the waffles to maintain their shape and hold up longer during the delivery process. The basic recipe is the perfect canvas to load on a myriad of flavors from sweet and nostalgic Fruity Pebbles cereal or savory with pizza sauce and melted cheese.

On average, Smashed Waffles “smashes” about 1,200 waffles a week.

The waffles are handmade daily, and all sauces are scratch-made as well. Once the recipe was perfected, Cox and Harrison came up with inventive and catchy names for menu items with many of the creations being inspired by their “crazy personalities, childhood nostalgia, and good ol’ fashioned ‘scratch’ cooking,” according to a statement on the restaurant’s website.

Harrison is amazed at how supportive the community has been since the restaurant opened.

“Seeing people responding to something we dreamed up is incredible,” he says. Within a few months of opening, Smashed Waffles received a “Best of” award for best dessert in Greenville, voted on by the community.

General manager Bethany Maciaszek loves to watch how customers respond to the new flavors and menu items.

“People love that we offer a waffle with so many choices from sweet to savory and everything in between. It’s a fun idea, a waffle shop that kids of all ages can fall in love with,” Maciaszek says.

The five main signature sweet waffles are the OG (Original Gangster), topped with honey and OG sauce; the Swirly Sin waffle with brown sugar butter sauce, cream cheese icing and cinnamon sugar; the Quilted Pig with maple icing and candied bacon crumbles; the Chip Chip Hooray with cookie butter, chocolate sauce and mini chocolate chips; and the Cereal Thriller, topped with sweet cream cheese icing and Fruity Pebbles cereal. Waffles cost $3 each, $8 for three, $15 for a half dozen or $19 for a dozen. All waffles are served with a side of a sweet dipping sauce called Liquid Gold.

Smashed Waffles also has Waffle-Wiches for those seeking a heartier waffle or sandwich option. Some options include the BFF with crispy bacon, fried egg and cheddar cheese; the Chatty Patty with sausage, egg and cheddar cheese; the Goin’ Ham with deli ham, egg and cheddar cheese; the Cowabunga with pepperoni, mozzarella and marinara; or my favorite, the Happy Go Clucky with a fried chicken breast, bacon and melted cheese. It is served with both the Liquid Gold sauce and a honey-siracha sauce. Waffle-Wiches are priced from $4.75-$5.75.

Smashed Waffles offers ice cream waffle sandwiches for $5 each. Choose from the Campfire with graham cracker pieces and Nutella sauce; the Nut Job with candied pecans and maple brown sugar sauce; or the one I sampled, the Celebration which is two layers of waffle stuffed with vanilla ice cream, rainbow sprinkles and drizzled with sweet cream sauce.

The best way to eat your sweet or savory waffle is to pair it with a cup of coffee. All coffee served at Smashed is premium single-origin beans, locally sourced. All lattes and coffee are made with espresso beans for a more robust flavor. Three coffees are offered: Morning Mojo, a medium roast coffee; the Blackout dark roast; and the Unleaded decaf. A 16-ounce cup of coffee is $2.

If you are looking for a unique coffee experience, try the Nitro Kegged Coffee. Smashed Waffles cold brews coffee, letting it steep for 24 hours, then it’s kegged like beer. The cup of coffee has a frothy top layer like beer foam and has a much smoother flavor that is sweeter and less bitter. The cost is $4.

Smashed Waffles offers five lattes that can be made hot, iced or blended. The names are fantastic and charming, too. Choices include the Troublemaker, Honey Buns, the Hazy, the Full Moon and the Cookie Monster latte. I sampled the last one, which is milk mixed with coffee, cookie dough syrup, cookie butter sauce, topped with whipped cream and cookie crumbles.

You can visit the restaurant at 718 Dickinson Ave. There also is a mobile food truck called the “Smash Shack” which serves waffles at events in the area. The Raleigh store is located across from North Carolina State University at 2304 Hillsborough St.

Smashed Waffles is open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 7 a.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays. Catering is available. Delivery is available for a $3.50 fee within a 10-mile radius of the restaurant. For more information, visit www.smashedwaffles.com or call 364-2872.

Riley’s Army fundraisers

■ From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 1, Chick Fil A, 4239 Winterville Parkway, Winterville, will donate 20 percent of all milkshake sales to Riley’s Army.

■ On the first Tuesday of each month, Papa John’s will donate 15 percent of your pizza order to Riley’s Army. Use the code RILEY15 to associate your order with the fundraising event.

Bone Appetit

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina will host a Bone Appetit fundraising event from from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Aug. 3-4 at Famiglia, 740 W. Fire Tower Road, Winterville. A percentage of all food and drink sales will be donated to HSEC. Write “for HSEC” on the receipt and alert the server.

Barks and Brews

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina will host a Barks and Brews fundraising event from 5-8 p.m. Aug. 10 at Trollingwood Taproom and Brewery, 707 Dickinson Ave. Twenty-five percent of each purchase will benefit the Humane Society. Leashed, well-behaved dogs are permitted outside.

Send information for Hot Dish to hotdish@reflector.com.

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