When it comes to politicians, waffling can be a bad thing, but when it comes to the Gourmet Waffle Shop in Denison, it is a very good thing indeed. The family owned café on the south side of Morton Street run by Joe and Kathy Williams has been bringing smiles to the faces of diners for breakfast and lunch with their signature waffles and more, for longer than many patrons can remember. That is why it seemed like good place to drop in for lunch recently.
It was around 12:45 p.m. and most of the daily lunch crowd had moved on. There were only a few people in the room when my guest and I sat down and studied the four-page menu. The waitress, who gave us a cheery greeting, touted the lunch special, brought us something to drink, and we set to calculating what to have. The menu has a full line up of breakfast items served all day, plus burgers, some salads, entree items such as chicken fried steak, and of course, waffles. They also have a reputation of their pies.
The special of the day was chicken fried chicken with pinto beans, home fries, cornbread and piece of key lime cake. That is what I ordered. The diner across the table decided breakfast was in order, so he chose the Waffle Special, a waffle, egg — he wanted his over easy — and two country sausage patties and a cup of coffee. We made small talk and the food was out of the kitchen in short order.
The chicken fried chicken was OK. It did not look as if it was homemade — the crust was too uniform — but it tasted all right and with a little cream gravy it added a nice crunch to the beans, which were good. Let’s face it; it is hard for pinto beans not to be comfort food. The home fries were excellent. The menu calls them hash browns, but these potatoes were cut into a thick dice and probably skillet fried with onions. A square of yellow sheet cake with green key lime flavored icing provided a slightly sweet finish, but it was nothing really special.
The real star of the day was my friend’s Waffle Special. The waffle, in the shape of Texas, was thick and fluffy, with deep craters to hold the cup of melted butter that came along side. The syrup was a standard Log Cabin type, but was served warm, and that is a very good thing. I swapped a piece of chicken for some Texas waffle territory — I got the Panhandle, down the Cap Rock, and on to the Rio Grande — and was more than satisfied. It was very tender, and very tasty.
My friend declared that his over easy egg was fried perfectly, and combined the egg with bites of the waffle and sausage. I had a half a sausage patty and pronounced it a success as well, nice and crispy on the outside with a good flavor and not too spicy. All in all, we had a filling and satisfactory lunch.
While no doubt all of the items on the menu are dependably good if not spectacular, the Gourmet Waffle Shop’s strong point is breakfast and waffles. I suspect that is what kept customers coming back all these years. In addition to the plain version that we tried, the waffles come with a variety of toppings from fruits to peanut butter, so trying them all would make for a tasty project. Note: You can call in an order, and they will have it ready at the drive-through window when you arrive.
Complaints, suggestions, ideas? Let me know at Sparkes@heralddemocrat.com