The art of the waffle

The Waffle Experience takes traditional breakfast food to savory side
By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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The Waffle Experience takes breakfast food to a whole new level.
Come to this fine-dining restaurant in Folsom and experience a one-of-a-kind meal.
Michael Donoho, chef proprietor, first opened The Waffle Experience with Jeff Belaski, co-owner and general manager in Sacramento in July 2014 and since, it has been a huge hit, Belaski said.
The two met when they served in Desert Storm in the Marine Corps. 30 years ago. Later Donoho went to culinary school and Belaski went into business and finance.
In 2012, Donoho, who was the executive chef at the Waldorf Astoria Resort in Boca Raton, Florida, reached out to Belaski and the pair rekindled their friendship, Belaski said.
Donoho took a true Belgium waffle and infused it with flavors, Belaski said.
“The flavors are incredible,” he said. “This is something that I had never had before.”
The original name, Wee Waffle, wasn’t grabbing the attention and spark they were looking for.
“I was telling a friend that we were going to do this and he said, ‘Oh that sounds like an experience!’ Then we trademarked the name as The Waffle Experience,” Belaski said.
In 2014, they opened up the Sacramento location and in 2016 they opened the Folsom location.
The more popular items on the menu include the Praise the Lard and We Found the Beef which is served on a fresh herb waffle, Belaski said.
“The most exotic waffle we have is called Jimmy’s a Greek and it has olives, onion jam, tomatoes, balsamic, arugula, feta cheese, sun-dried tomato pesto sauce, an egg and that is all served on a fresh herb waffle,” he said.
When you go into The Waffle Experience, whether it is in Sacramento location or Folsom, you will have a personal experience from the moment you walk in the door, Belaski said.
“I am a meet and greeter,” he said. “Every customer is spoken to and it’s a family-oriented atmosphere. The Folsom location will have a huge chalkboard that kids can write on. A lot of people write how many times they have been there.”
One thing Belaski wanted people to know about The Waffle Experience is that they make everything fresh daily – no microwaves and no heat lamps. They do have a freezer, but only keep ice cream inside, he said.
Belaski said that the average check charge is around $16, which includes entrée and a drink. The menu also includes items for as low as $6.
Something about the restaurant that is unique is while waiting for food, you can watch a screen that shows the kitchen preparing your meal.
“How many places show what is going on in the kitchen? How many places make everything fresh, every day?” Belaski said. “Chef Mike created something that had never existed. Everyone has chocolate and strawberries on their waffles, but they have not done what we have. That is our pride and joy.”