Smash Waffles' first cafe is open in Greenville
It's the first Smash Cafe opened by founders Justin Cox and Hunter Harrison, who have plans for others in Raleigh, Durham and Wilmington.
The creative duo, both former investment bankers, have developed a unique concept with a delicious product and fun marketing.
The menu features a variety of Belgian waffles, made with dough not batter.
The waffle dough is made from scratch daily using flour, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, yeast, salt, and honey in each batch -- plus a secret Belgian ingredient.
The waffle dough is rolled into balls, which are placed with their fillings on a traditional cast-iron waffle press, smashed and heated to create a waffle with a caramelized outer shell and a fluffy interior.
Cost is $3 for one waffle, $8 for three, $15 for a six, and $21 for a dozen.
Smash Waffles' five original flavors are on the cafe menu:
* The Swirly Sin, with brown sugar butter sauce, cream cheese icing and cinnamon sugar;
* The Quilted Pig, with maple icing, candied bacon crumbles and powdered sugar;
* The Chip Chip Hooray, with cookie butter, chocolate sauce and mini chocolate chips;
* The Cereal Thriller, with sweet cream icing, Fruity Pebbles and powdered sugar; and
* The O.G., with honey, O.G. Sauce and powdered sugar.
There is also special surprise Waffle of the Week (#WOW).
Three savory waffle-wiches have been concocted for the cafe, and they are $4 each.
* The Happy-Go-Clucky features two Belgian waffles surrounding a fried chicken breast with liquid gold syrup and powdered sugar.
* The BFF is a Belgian waffle sandwich with crispy bacon, fried egg and white Cheddar cheese.
* The Chatty Patty has a sausage patty, fried egg and Cheddar cheese.
And then there are the Ice Cream Waffle-wiches. Each sells for $5 and includes two Belgian waffles and vanilla ice cream.
* The Campfire has graham cracker crumbles, Nutella sauce and sweet cream sauce.
* The Nutjob has candied pecans and maple and brown sugar butter sauce.
We tried The Celebration Ice Cream Waffle-wich, with rainbow sprinkles and sweet cream sauce. The ice cream melted into the waffle, and we used spoons to get up every sprinkle!
And then there's the coffee. Smash Waffles serves its own special single-origin coffees roasted in Raleigh especially for them. There's The Morning Mojo light roast and The Blackout dark roast.
"The coffee is as important as the waffles," Hunter said. "We wanted it to be simple for customers, so we created 11 lattes with cool names. Justin and I wanted to create the craziest lattes we could think of."
Here's just a few:
* The Kumbaya features toasted marshmallow syrup, chocolate sauce and graham cracker crumbles.
* The Cookie Monster includes cookie dough syrup, cookie butter sauce and cookie crumbles.
* The Full Moon features white chocolate syrup and chocolate sauce.
* The Troublemaker includes bourbon caramel syrup, vanilla syrup and brown sugar butter sauce.
We were advised to try The All Shook Up, with banana syrup, peanut butter syrup, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and candied bacon -- which employee Rachel even delivered with her impression of Elvis' dance. It was a rich coffee treat that surprised us with the depth of flavor. We drank every drop.
The lattes may be served hot, iced or blended and cost $4 for a 16-ounce cup.
"We also created the Hot Shot Challenge," Hunter said. It's espresso with hot Ghost-Pepper syrup and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper served in a take-home shot glass with the Smash Waffles logo. The cost is $5.
Smash Cafe also has a Nitro Cold Brew Coffee keg, offering up cold coffee on tap that's served in an iced cup for $5 for 16 ounces.
"We want to create a share-able experience," Hunter said, from the Instagram-worthy presentation of the waffles and coffee to the picture-ready selfie wall at the cafe's exit.
The cafe is a rectangular space with a wall of windows and touches of yellow, black and white. Patrons order at a counter. There is seating at a window bar and at tables.
Justin and Hunter -- who call themselves The Smash Brothers -- started their waffle delivery service in December, working out of a local church kitchen. They also have a Smash Shack, a custom-designed food truck for creating fresh waffles on-site.
As the company expands, it will remain based in Greenville, using the local cafe as a test kitchen.
(Photos by 252Buzz)
Jane Welborn Hudson, a native of Greenville, wrote The Daily Reflector's Hot Dish restaurant column for 12 years and the Greensboro News & Record's Short Orders restaurant column for 8 years. Email her at email@example.com.
Address: 718 Dickinson Ave. across from Trollingwood Brewing Company
Hours: 7 a.m-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 7 a.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
Call: (252) 364-2872.
Prices: Waffles, $3-$5 each; Lattes and coffee, $4-$5