Made of leavened batter and cooked to perfection between two textured grills, waffles are an American tradition, topped with everything from maple syrup and butter to chicken and jalapeños.
And while the fluffy and crispy treats are enjoyed across the globe, Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top 40 waffle restaurants around the country, using Yelp data and our own special sauce* to produce a data-driven breakdown of where waffles reign supreme across the U.S.
Topping the list is South Carolina's Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery, located at 3301 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. With 4.5 stars out of a solid 997 reviews on Yelp, this local staple has made an impression with its selection of house-made Belgian-style waffles, like the red velvet cake batter waffle drizzled with cream cheese icing; coconut banana French dipped in vanilla bean custard; and a waffle filled with bacon and topped with cinnamon sugar and butter.
The diner serves lunch, too, but if you've still got waffles on the mind, check out the house-made chicken tender-topped waffle with cinnamon sugar.
In second place is New York City's Wafels & Dinges, with 4.5 stars out of a whopping 1,520 reviews. The business, which operates primarily as a food truck enterprise with eight locations throughout the city — and at two commissary outposts — specializes in the almighty liege waffle.
Each liege can be customized with an array of toppings, like spekuloos spread, Vermont maple syrup, dulce de leche and more. The additional goodies that adorn the waffles are referred to as "dinges," or Belgian slang for "whatchamacallits," according to the eatery. If you're feeling adventurous, check out the cranberry-rosemary herbed waffle for a different take.
In third place is The Waffle Window in Portland, Oregon, which boasts 4.5 stars out of 1,521 reviews. Located at 3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd., this favorite specializes in what it bills as "liege waffles with a Portland twist." In addition to a variety of sweet variations, such as a cheesecake or hot fudge sundae-topped waffle, this spot offers an assortment of savory ones, too. Look for the Three B's waffle topped with bacon, basil and brie; or one with spicy bacon, cheddar and jalapeño. The Waffle Window has two other outposts at 26th and Northeast Alberta streets and at the Bridgeport Village Kiosk.
When it comes to the popularity of waffles across the country, Yelp data show that businesses tagged with the "waffles" category are largely clustered around urban metros on the East and West coasts, with Texas, Illinois, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas also seeing notable numbers of waffle-focused restaurants.
As for relative popularity across the nation, measured by average ratings for a given category, Yelp data indicate that the Dakotas, Nebraska, Louisiana and Delaware may not be home to the biggest waffle fans, comparatively speaking.
When it comes to how prevalent waffle businesses are, state by state, Georgia shows the strongest ratio of waffle outlets compared to all other categories, with Utah, South Carolina, Alabama and North Carolina the runners-up. So, Georgia should be your top stop if you want a diversity of waffle options to choose from.
Want to know where to score the most satisfying waffle the country has to offer? Here's the rundown of the 40 American waffle spots to knock off your bucket list:
- Johnny D's Waffles and Bakery (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)
- Wafels & Dinges (New York City, New York)
- The Waffle Window (Portland, Oregon)
- Bruges Waffles & Frites (Salt Lake City, Utah)
- Omelette & Waffle Cafe (Plymouth, Missouri)
- La Waffletz & Macaron Station (Tacoma, Washington)
- Waffallonia (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
- Moore Coffee Shop (Seattle, Washington)
- Cousteau's Waffle and Milkshake Bar (Saint Augustine, Florida)
- Caramel Cookie Waffles Corp (Billings, Montana)
- Seabrook Waffle Company (Seabrook, Texas)
- The Waffle Experience (Sacramento, California)
- Waffle Love - Northridge (Northridge, California)
- Bruxie (Orange, California)
- Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles (Phoenix, Arizona)
- Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles (Los Angeles, California)
- Waffle Me Up (Boise, Idaho)
- Jupiter Pizza & Waffle (Sugarland, Texas)
- What the Waffle (Columbus, Ohio)
- Bruxie (Las Vegas, Nevada)
- Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles (Long Beach, California)
- Just Love Coffee & Eatery Murfreesboro East (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
- Sweet Iron (Seattle, Washington)
- Waffle House (Biloxi, Mississippi)
- Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles - Mid-City (Los Angeles, California)
- Coco Crepes, Waffles & Coffee (Houston, Texas)
- Atypical Waffle Company (San Diego)
- Sweet Belgium (Charleston, South Carolina)
- Doux Cafe (Houston, Texas)
- Waffles n' More (Lewiston, Idaho)
- Taste of Belgium (Cincinnati, Ohio)
- Nina's Waffles & Ice Cream (New Hope, Pennsylvania)
- Day Day's BBQ & Waffle House (Pomona, California)
- Nanas Chicken N Waffles (Conyers, Georgia)
- Original Waffle Shop (State College, Pennsylvania)
- Bruxie (Brea, California)
- Box Kitchen (San Francisco, California)
- The Waffle Hut (Klamath Falls, Oregon)
- Big C Waffles (Durham, North Carolina)
- Crepe Shack & Waffles (Henderson, Nevada)
* To determine "best" businesses, Hoodline took into account the business's Yelp rating and the significance of that rating proportional to the number of reviews, as well as regional variations, to ensure that states with a stronger pattern of reviews don't have an unfair advantage over states that tend to review businesses less frequently.