UPDATE: This location closed at the end of January. Another victim of the economy and bizarre layout?
I’m not a huge waffle fan; french toast is more my thing. And lately, a banana and Greek yoghurt has been my thing. However, I think I’ve missed the window for getting that sleek summer body in time for the hot weather, so when I heard that a waffle shop was opening in the strangely shaped Bellevue Avenue space where Sticky Buns opened not even a year ago, I insisted on a visit to the Grid Iron Waffle Shop with my almost-three-year-old.
For a shy gal like me, the long walk to the back is a little intimidating. I mean, it’s kind of like a gauntlet of chairs and tables leading up to the Judgment Display. (You think I might be feeling guilty about deserting – Ha! Desserting! – my summer bod hopes?) Still, considering that the chairs and tables were empty, it wasn’t so bad. The woman behind the display was very friendly and patient with my clumsy ordering. We settled on a Veggie Waffle Panini (hold the tomato) for my daughter and a Vegetarian Grid Iron Waffle specialty sandwich with a side salad. Add a hot apple cider and a latte (with skim milk!), and we were done. It was a little pricey: $20.07. But I’m still horrified whenever I walk down the cereal aisle and see boxes over $4, so I don’t know if that’s a ridiculous amount. *I’ve asked regular Starbucks patrons, and they said that’s probably a little less than what you’d pay there.
The drinks came to us within two minutes, but the sandwiches took a little over ten minutes. It seemed like one woman was training another employee, and having been there many times, I’m willing to forgive the wait in anticipation of snappy service during future visits.
My vegetarian waffle sandwich was very tasty: Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Red Peppers (real, not jarred), really tasty basil pesto on a waffle. The salad was fresh and good; next time I’ll request dressing on the side because I prefer less dressing than most seem to. My one complaint about the sandwich is that it didn’t hold together very well; I ended up eating it partially deconstructed. Still delicious, but not very attractive.
My daughter’s breakfast panini was plain (no tomato, as requested), but savory and good: Havarti Cheese and an Egg Pattie stuffed into a waffle. She ate most of it, and really enjoyed it. Her waffle was doughier than mine was; hers was a brioche waffle as opposed to my focaccia waffle. Who knew there were so many waffle types?
I also got a latte, which was comforting and strong, and my toddler had (most of) a hot apple cider – real cider, not too sweet.
The friendly employee checked back on us twice to make sure we were happy – we were.
The vibe is definitely going for a Starbucks sort of feel. The drinks and baked goods in the displays, the comfy seating in the front, the counter-style seating facing out the windows all evoked Starbucks for me. And I rarely go into Starbucks. I liked that there was a book shelf with various books and magazines available to read.
I didn’t see a sign advertising WiFi, but this is a place I think I’d be happy to sit and do some work. The bookshelf certainly encouraged hanging out instead of drink and run.
I’ll try it again, maybe requesting a whole wheat waffle next time. Or perhaps I’ll stop in for a dessert – the Berry Lemon Lust looks a little too tempting.
Grid Iron Waffle Shop * 197 Bellevue Avenue * Montclair, NJ * (973) 783-5193 * www.GridIronWaffleShop.com