I live 528 feet away from The Waffle Window on Hawthorne. I go there every Saturday morning for my people-watching + waffle fix. Below are 6 reasons why I love this place so much.
1. It generates urban vibrancy.
The Waffle Window is a people magnet. Imagine the crowds and energy at a busy restaurant. The Waffle Window generates this same kind of energy but right on the street. So the whole neighborhood gets to benefit from the vibrancy it generates.
People anxiously awaiting their waffles on a lovely Saturday morning in March.
2. It turns a parking lot into a people space.
Thankfully, there aren’t a whole lot of parking lots facing the street on Hawthorne, but there are some in the back of buildings. So there is a small parking lot in the back of The Waffle Window. This parking lot could easily become an eye-sore, but it has something good in it. A part of it has been taken over for seating for The Waffle Window, and so it has become a place for people to hang out. It’s a pretty sweet reappropriation, if you ask me.
The Waffle Window outdoor seating in the back parking lot.
3. It turns an entire street into a retail space.
I love the blurring of public and private space that happens around The Waffle Window. Is it a private restaurant or is it a public sidewalk or is it both? This ambiguity is what makes The Waffle Window such an interesting urban phenomenon.
4. It captures the ephemeral nature of a food truck into bricks and mortar.
Serving food on the street is nothing new. Food carts and food trucks have cornered the market of street-side food vending. But The Waffle Window manages to capture the feel of the temporary food truck or food cart into a bricks and mortar operation. It is a unique hybrid between a restaurant in a building and street-side food vending, taking advantage of both forms. After ordering your waffle at the street-side window, you can eat your waffle inside, or you can eat it in the outdoor seating area mentioned above, or you can take it home. You have a few more options with The Waffle Window than you would with a food truck or food cart.
5. It is inherently pedestrian-oriented.
It is quite impossible to drive up to The Waffle Window to order. You have to walk up to it, because it abuts the sidewalk, not the street. In essence, it is a walk-up window, rather than the drive-thru window. It is inherently pedestrian-oriented. Even if you drive over, you have to find parking on the street and join the line of people standing around waiting to order. The Waffle Window is wonderfully pedestrian-scaled and it’s perfect for people who live in the neighborhood to walk to.
6. I love waffles.
What can I say, I love waffles. And I love a restaurant audacious enough to be solely based on waffles. The slightly-sweet Belgian waffle is the foundation of every Waffle Window offering. You can get your waffle sweet or savory with a variety of topics ranging from fruit and granola to bacon and jalapenos. Here is a menu in case you are curious.
Photo Credit: All photos by the author.
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