If you’re just tuning in, folks, welcome to the Brawl to Eat Them All at Waffle Champion, 1212 N. Walker Ave. #100. I have seen some slobber-knockers in my life, but the way these sandwiches are fighting for the top spot, you’d think it was personal.
Some say these rivalries began back when Waffle Champion was a food truck, with the long-standing belt holder, Bacon Egg n’ Cheese ($7.95) routinely defending the title. Other sandwiches would come and go, but that hearty, tried-and-true blend of bacon and eggs covered in cheddar cheese and wrapped in a freshly made waffle never left.
Now that the WWC (World Waffle Championships) has its own storefront, plenty of other contenders are vying for the title.
No one can deny that Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($11.95) wants the win — whether wrapped in the classic buttermilk or stacked on a liege waffle — but be sure to ask for extra Tabasco honey if you’re wanting this challenger to come out on top.
And who can forget Grilled Cheese ($6.95) with its mix of cheddar, Havarti and Brie and a light slathering of green chile mayonnaise? Well ... me, a bit. It seems that blend is a bit bland and needs more big cheese flavor to win over this crowd.
With all the flash in the world, WC Lobster Roll ($17.95) seems like an odds-on favorite to win the belt, but I found that the lobster, though cooked correctly, lacked enough flavor to stand up to the mildly sweet waffle. Maybe more sauce gribiche would help, or an option with drawn butter for dipping.
Dark horse (fowl?) fighter Smoked Duck Banh Mi ($10.95) has plenty of flavor and lots of meaty duck, but it’s the pickled vegetables, jalapeño peppers and sauce that impresses. The duck tasted more like dark meat turkey, which isn’t bad but is a bit of a letdown.
Brussels Sprouts Hash ($8.95) put up a valiant fight, but the surprise winner was ... PIT HAM! PIT HAM! PIT HAM! OH MY GOD, PIT HAM!
Weighing in at a sprightly $8.95, it was the simple ham sandwich that beat back all comers with the mellow flavor of Havarti, the crunch of fried dill pickle slices and the surprisingly appetizing maple mustard. Truly, this was the people’s Waffle Champion.
In the undercard, another upset for the ages as Potato n’ Leek Chowder ($2.95 for a cup, $4.95 for a bowl) viciously and viscously took down the favorite, WC garlic n’ parsley Waffle Fries ($3.95). The house-made ketchup nearly saved the fries, but the big cheddar flavor and the crisp fried leeks put the soup over the top in the Sides Up Takedown.
For dessert? Uh ... I don’t even know how to continue this metaphor. Just, man, get a liege waffle ($3.95) and top it with lemon curd and fresh berries (95 cents per each topping), or stick with the free and delicious maple syrup and whipped cream.