A good corner has useful things. Not just pleasant things, such as a book-themed cafe with bad food and occasional poetry readings, or a twee Italian bistro with live acoustic-guitar music, but businesses that maintain a purposeful existence by serving their neighborhood what is wanted yet not in ample supply. Things such as waffles.
So let's all welcome Off the Waffle to Clinton Corner, a pleasant intersection that has nonetheless housed too many businesses short on utility. If you are not on that corner for wacky films, chances are you are there for brunch. And if you want weekend brunch at Broder, there is a giant line. And so, waffles.
Mmmm, waffles. That's what you start thinking upon encountering Off the Waffle's logo, a Simpsons-esque (grown-up Rod Flanders?) headshot that captures the sensibility of this sunny space, where walls are covered with artwork titled Sometimes She Was Still Gone When She Was Still There, agave syrup is the most popular coffee sweetener, and kindergartners wear bow ties while grown women wear pajama pants.
The menu is mainly waffles—the best kind of waffles, Liège waffles, sometimes called Belgian waffles. This shop, the third in a chain that began in Eugene, makes a tasty version using brioche dough and imported pearl sugar. They're not quite as sweet as what you get at Waffle Window—pay 75 cents for B-grade maple syrup—but they do have that crisp-bordering-on-crunchy outer layer a waffle appreciator appreciates in the Liège. What should you get on top? What do you like? The savory ones are legit meals—the Caprese ($8) is fortified by half an avocado and surprisingly pleasant out-of-season tomato, and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy ($8.50) drips yolk onto maple-kissed bacon—while the sweet ones deliver the midday sugar coma you presumably want when ordering the Overachiever ($5.25) with Belgian chocolate chips and ripe banana. The omelets are tiny, lightly fried and even more lightly stuffed, but they come with a waffle. Mmmm, waffles. So useful.
- Order this: A waffle, topped with things you like.
- Best deal: The O.G. is only $3.
- Iâll pass: Omelets.
EAT: Off the Waffle, 2601 SE Clinton St., 946-1608, offthewaffle.com. 8 am-8 pm daily.