Hot on the heels of Tim Carman’s story on the District’s second class status as a breakfast city, comes news of the opening of a small waffle and smoothie bar on Bladgen Alley named, appropriately, Back Alley Waffles. The intimate breakfast spot is located in co-owner Craig Nelson’s ground-floor art studio, and it was originally conceived as a way to bring attention to his mosaic work.
Though the self-taught waffle maker had no formal kitchen training, he entered the world of professional cooking with some key votes of confidence. “I knew I could make waffles,” Nelson told me. “My friends really love them. And this is a town of world-class wafflers, so that’s really saying something.”
Right now, Back Alley Waffles is open from 7 a.m. until about 3 p.m., but Nelson may expand the hours. As of now, many of the restaurant’s operations are very rudimentary. High on the shopping list: a dishwasher. “Right now we’re serving on paper and washing everything by hand, which isn’t ideal, “ Nelson says.
The menu is a concise four-items long: Belgian-style waffles served with butter and real maple syrup ($8), a house smoothie made from apple, orange, pineapple, carrot juice, strawberries, banana, yogurt, honey and aloe vera ($6), coffee ($2) and chai tea ($2).
Unfortunately, being a first-time customer might involve some luck. The restaurant, unprepared for the Internet-fueled rush of waffle-starved Washingtonians, ran out of ingredients early today. A note posted on the front door at 10:45 a.m. thanked Prince of Petworth and Urban Daddy for the coverage and the resultant “9000% increase in business” and asked potential customers to try them again soon “when we have, like, TWO knives with which to cut fruit.”
If that means you are still looking for tomorrow’s breakfast stop, peruse our photos of the area’s best breakfasts .