642 S. Webber Rd.
Romeoville, IL 60446
December 28, 2006
We first heard about this restaurant from my grandma, who told us they were building a new Crispy Waffle near her place and said that we should check it out sometime. The way she phrased it made it sound like it was a chain, and the restaurant itself had kind of a "chain" feel to it, but as far as I know, this restaurant is the only Crispy Waffle in existence. I've never seen any others, and they don't appear to have a website. Perhaps they're keeping a low profile, hoping that people will be enticed by the aura of mystery surrounding them? Who knows.
True to its name, Crispy Waffle has a wide array of waffles to choose from. You've got your standard waffles, your waffles with fruit on top, your waffles with bacon in the mix (many breakfast places seems to have this option, though I've never tried it and frankly it sounds disgusting...sure, you can have bacon with waffles, but IN the waffles?) and then you've got some more extravagant choices, such as the Hawaiian waffle (with coconut!), and their Crispy Waffle special, a big ol' waffle topped with mounds of ice-cream, chocolate syrup and other sticky-sweet goodness. It's probably not the sort of thing you want to have every day, not unless you're trying to kill yourself very slowly and deliciously, but I imagine it makes a grand treat for those special occasions when it's acceptable to have something spectacularly fattening. I'll have to go back and try it sometime, but for our first visit I had a simple strawberry waffle with whipped cream. Hard to go wrong with that. It was good--maybe a notch or two above the strawberry waffles I've had at other breakfast places. The waffle itself was both tender and crispy, neither too soggy nor too hard. Though really, I would have felt severely ripped off if the Crispy Waffle's waffles were not at least slightly better than usual.
The ambiance is low-key and pleasant, and the decor kind of reminded me of Panera--similar colors, same sort of lighting--though it was much bigger and more open. Crispy Waffle is a bit pricey, unfortunately. Not unreasonably so, but it's definitely a "once in a while" sort of place.
My Blogger avatar would suggest that I'm some kind of waffle fanatic, but I almost always opt for pancakes instead. Waffles are usually more defined by their toppings than by anything that's actually inside of them, while pancakes offer a virtually endless possibility of flavor in every moist millimeter of grilled mixture. Maybe a trip to Crispy Waffle could have persuaded me otherwise, but I ordered the peach pancakes instead, so I'll never know. I honestly can't say very much about them right now as it's been nearly three weeks since I consumed them, and have little more than basic impressions about the experience and almost no memory of the specific taste. Peaches and whipped cream were piled on top just as promised, yet I somehow wanted more. But more of what? I remember feeling starved that afternoon so I was probably just thankful to finally get some food in my stomach before 2:00.
Sitting in the middle of an isolated strip mall across from a landfill, Crispy Waffle isn't content to deliver the traditional family restaurant atmosphere that most small-town upstarts try to mimick. On the contrary, Crispy Waffle goes for a hip, urban loft-vibe complete with authentic graffiti tags from the "waffle-icious" gang (see above). They might have even pulled off this design coup if it wasn't sabotaged by other goofy pictures painted on the walls. In a move that could cost them their business, they give away their waffle recipe in a huge mural painted on the wall. They use flour and sugar! If you want the rest, you'll have to go see it for yourself.