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Enjoy Wondrous Waffles in South Carolina

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Who wants waffles? The answer is just about everybody. Since the 1600s when Dutch colonists arrived in the New World and first showed off their waffle-making skills, the crunchy, grid-like quickbread has been a mainstay of the American breakfast.

Traditionally served with butter, syrup, fruit or—in the case of early settlers with more savory tastes—covered in a rich kidney stew, waffles are no longer reserved for the morning menu.

The marriage of spicy fried chicken and crispy, warm waffles is a good example. Diners across the state can’t seem to get enough of the dynamic duo. Restaurants like Kiki's Chicken and Waffles in Columbia are meeting the demand with innovative versions of what’s become a classic dish.

This turn of events has highlighted the versatility of the waffle. Chefs are certainly seeing them in a whole new light, going full-on gourmet by creating signature waffles using herbs, flavorings and creative toppings. 

Whether you're a waffle adventurist or purist, there’s a South Carolina restaurant waiting to satisfy your craving. Here’s a roundup of some of the best waffles and waffle dishes from across South Carolina:

Chicken and waffles to satisfy the biggest hunger is a signature dish at Early Bird Diner.

 At Early Bird Diner in Charleston, pecan-crusted fried chicken paired with cinnamon waffles, served with sides of honey mustard sauce and maple syrup. Yum!

In Bluffton, the homey café and farmer's market called Cahill’s is famous for its made-from-scratch pecan waffles topped with cinnamon honey butter and cooked apples.

Waffles make an upscale dinner with a pairing of duck at Eli’s Table.

A downtown Charleston tradition, Eli’s Table has a way with waffles for every meal of the day. For breakfast, get sweet potato waffles topped with seasonal berries and cinnamon butter. For lunch, get them gussied up with fried chicken, cinnamon butter, bacon maple glaze, kale and Brussels sprout slaw. Dinner is a more elegant affair featuring duck and waffles – a dish that’s good enough to wash down with fine wine.

An acronym for “Golden, Brown & Delicious,” GB&D in Greenville is known for its rotating lineup of inspired eats, which includes waffles. Chicken and waffles are a mainstay, though, with a yeasted waffle serving as the vehicle for fried chicken, sunny side up egg, bacon jam and maple hot sauce. Dessert waffles with accoutrements, such as cream cheese, strawberries, nuts and granola, are also sinfully delicious.

Johnny D's serves up luscious waffles in a variety of flavors.

The Food Network says the best waffles in South Carolina are found in the Myrtle Beach area at Johnny D's Waffles and Benedicts —and customers agree. Thick, golden-brown, crunchy-on-the-outside, tender-in-the-middle Belgian waffles are the restaurant’s calling card. Get waffles just about any way you want them here: chicken and waffles, red velvet waffles, fruit waffles, cinnamon waffles or the dessert-breakfast mash-up banana split waffle. Any way you get 'em, the eating's good.

Belgian-style or regular waffles are served crispy with house-whipped butter, fresh berries and whipped cream at Papa's Breakfast Nook, a Spartanburg long-time favorite. The best part: You can get your fill anytime as Papa serves 24-hours a day.

Innovative waffle sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients make for hearty dining at Southern Culture.

The upscale kitchen of Southern Culture in Greenville does Southern right with a heavy shot of flair—think savory waffles here. For brunch, try Gramma’s Revenge, a waffle sandwich with fried Springer Mountain chicken, an egg, white cheddar, bacon and Dijonnaise. For supper, fill up on a cornbread waffle with half a fried Springer Mountain chicken, slaw and pepper jelly—a dish so popular you’ve got to get there early to snag one.

Head to the town of Travelers Rest where you'll find Tandem Crêperie & Coffeehouse. The crepes here are quite fine, and the waffles are sublime at this European-style restaurant. Blueberry compote, whipped cream and syrup are one luscious choice, but opt for a waffle topped with bananas, walnuts, dark chocolate sauce, whipped cream and syrup to whip your taste buds into a wild frenzy.

The Millers All Day waffle is a work of art made from fresh-milled grains.

Waffles are made at Millers All Day in Charleston from freshly milled grains and topped with bananas, sorghum, caramel and puffs of meringue for a dish that’s as awesome to behold as it is to dig in to.

Chicken and waffles are a rousing favorite at the bustling Page’s Okra Grill in Mount Pleasant where Belgian waffles make a sturdy bed for a Southern fried chicken breast dressed up with lemon and honey butter.

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.