I spent some time with Alex Hernandez, proprietor of Waffles, a new breakfast and lunch place at 1400 S. Michigan, tentatively scheduled to open on June 28. I got a peek at the build-out, and a preview of the menu.
First off, there is no business association with Japonais. Based on the e-mail address posted to the window, this blog and a few others speculated that this might be the case. However, owner Hernandez currently works at Japonais, but will be ending his relationship with the Chicago landmark as the opening of Waffles draws closer. Waffles Chef Jason Hilgers was formerly with Japonaise and The Bristol.
|A look at the bar under construction at Waffles|
The space is large and loft-like with vaulted ceilings. There will be a bar (they’re applying for a liquor license) and the space will include three flat-screen TVs. In addition, there is a private space for small groups or business meetings. The space will be equipped to support audio-visual equipment for meetings that might require those devices.
Not Your Typical Waffle Joint
Taking one look at the menu (still in process), we can safely say this isn’t your grandfather’s waffle joint. The new eatery will be serving up two types of waffles: Brussels and Liege. Krampouz, a French company, is the manufacturer of the waffle presses to be used at Waffles. Krampouz also makes commercial grade crêpe makers and griddles.
Some of the waffle dishes on the menu include “Waffle Benedict,” “Green Tea,” and “Albondiagas.” The latter includes “pork and lamb meatballs in a spicy tomato stew severed over an Asiago mint waffle.” We think it’s safe to say you’re not going to find that on the menu at IHOP. Lunch fair includes sandwiches and salads. Vegetarian options will also be available. Hernandez pointed out to me that Allen Brothers located here in Chicago would supply their meat. Lastly, we can expect alfresco dining this season if all the permitting goes according to plan.
As new information becomes available, we’ll post it here.