- Kat Robinson
- HOMESTYLE: Waffle with strawberries at Mom & Pop's Waffles
Another stop for Breakfast in Arkansas week takes us to Morrilton, to a little joint off the Highway 95 exit. I stopped in the other morning at Mom and Pop’s Waffles. The parking lot was packed and there was only one available place to sit, a booth right across from the waffle irons.
It’s obvious from the architecture that this was formerly a Waffle House. Now locally owned and operated, it’s just open for breakfast. Despite that, the menu is dotted with not just breakfast items but a few other things like cheeseburgers and a chicken strip dinner.
The lone waitress gave me a menu and poured me up a cup of coffee and a small cup of water and left me alone with the menu. Being a waffle place, I had decided that I had to have a waffle. Just made sense, right? But which one? The menu covers waffles, pecan waffles, blueberry waffles and strawberry waffles. What the heck — strawberry sounded fine to me. I got an order of hash browns on the side and handed my menu back.
I noticed from my first sip that the coffee was nuttier and a little darker roasted for my taste, but it wasn’t bad, very diner-style. Sugar was on the table, along with salt, pepper and a jam dispenser. I watched the crowd and the staff while I waited. There was one cook, a patient lady managing to turn out order after order, cooking up perfectly turned over-easy eggs on the right hand griddle and piles of hash browns and breakfast meats on the left. There almost seemed to be a rhythym going between the country music playing overhead, the quiet rumble of voices and the scratching noise of a long metal spatula on the metal griddle.
Everyone seemed to be a local. Guys from the bar would holler over to girls seated in booths, asking a question or two. While I was there I heard a conversation carry on that rolled from one end of the restaurant to another — a local woman had died recently and surprisingly from an aneurism, and her family had announced she didn’t want a funeral. The conversation was hard to ignore — it was behind me between two customers and the waitress at first, and she carried the news to the cook who talked it over with a table of four at the other end. It was like listening to ladies chat in an old fashioned beauty salon.
I was taking my usual photos quietly here and there, and I overheard the cook tell the waitress she’d seen a flash and thought it was lightning. The waitress said she hadn’t seen a flash, and the cook told her she thought maybe she was getting old. I fessed up to the crime, showing them the camera and telling them I was preparing to shoot more photos. I usually don’t use flash in restaurants and hadn’t realized it had gone off.
My food came to me shortly after that. My waffle was golden brown, a traditional flat waffle instead of the Belgian waffles popular of late. Instead of syrup it was covered in strawberries and whipped cream. It was crispy and just about perfect. But what bought me on it was that topping — not some strawberry-flavored product with gelatin and who knows what in it from a store, but the sort of topping I’d grown up on, where strawberries were washed and capped and put in a big container, usually a former Cool Whip tub, then sprinkled with sugar and set in the back of the refrigerator overnight to macerate. The whipped topping was dairy-based and came from a can. It was like having strawberry shortcake for breakfast, and I didn’t mind that. My hash browns with ketchup made a nice counterpoint.
Waffle, hash browns and coffee came to $8.32 — I handed over a ten dollar bill and took off a short time later, headed to points elsewhere. It was the sort of meal that stays with you all day.
You don’t have to get fancy with the toppings there. A plain waffle will run you $3.15. The menu also offers Steak and Eggs, Pork Chops and Eggs, omelets and hotcakes and breakfast sandwiches. It may not be the grandest breakfast you’ve ever had, but it’s honest and you can watch it be made while you wait.
Mom and Pop’s Waffles is on Highway 95, a couple of blocks south of Interstate 40 in Morrilton. You’ll see it when you pass the Love’s Truckstop on the same side of the road. (501) 354-8284.