Weekend Feed: Waffle Shop in Alexandria
The Waffle Shop, which occupies a strange, triangular peninsula of cement, like Alexandria’s own tiny Flatiron Building, is one of the city’s few 24 hours a day/7 days a week operations. A few years back, the Alexandria Gazette Packet wrote a story about the owners losing every set of keys to the place but never bothering to replace them since the business never, ever closes. At all hours you can look through large picture windows and see a gritty, grease-spattered Edward Hopper scene: construction workers, bus drivers, and other folks sitting at the grungy, counter scarfing down food out of Styrofoam containers. The secret to the Waffle Shop’s success? Clarified butter. Turns out, it’s not just for steamed lobster. There’s a big vat of melted, translucent fat sitting on the counter, ready to be ladled onto thin, crispy waffles as the cook pulls them out of the old-fashioned industrial iron. It may sound horrifying, but the melted butter concept is genius. A pat of butter may leave a delicious pool in the center of a waffle, but it never extends to the crusty outer edges. The Waffle Shop method allows butter to soak into every one of the waffle's, and eventually your, pores. Accompaniments include fat, finger-like links of beef sausage or nice fatty bacon too weighed down with lard to crisp up much. You can also order something else entirely—chicken, sandwiches—but why would you? The place is called the Waffle Shop, after all. Actually, thanks to a typo on the green awning out front, it’s called the “Wafle Shop.” Locals pronounce the misspelled name phonetically, calling the place the “Way-full” shop, which is more fitting than the place’s real name.