First Look

New Ross Avenue Waffle House Is a Culinary Tour de Force

If you call yourself a foodie, you've been champing at the bit for this new restaurant to open. Dallas, the time has finally come: Waffle House on Ross Avenue is officially ready for business. Excitement.

Helmed by executive chef, This Guy, and sous chef, That Lady, Waffle House offers a spin on modern American breakfast cuisine – instead of only offering breakfast in the morning, Waffle House is pushing the breakfast envelope by making waffles, sausage and bacon all 24 hours of the day. Scandalous. 

Another game-changer: Waffle House is not on Open Table. We assumed that there would be a phone number you could call to make reservations, but they're not even doing that. Refreshing.

Getting a table here is extremely difficult, as seating is limited to about eight tables and one bar that runs the length of the shotgun restaurant – so when you plan your visit, bring a small group and find a seat at the community bar, where you'll suddenly find yourself in a deep philosophical debate about the proper spelling of "hash browns." The open kitchen here rivals the one at Fearing's. Such technique.


On my visit, a kind, older, slobbering gentleman slapped the open seat next to him, inviting me to join him. Several times during my meal, my elbows bumped the diners on either side of me, immersing me in a personal space experiment that I have never encountered at any other restaurant or pop-up dinner. The general mood in the restaurant is that of a neighborhood bar, without the whiskey. Surreal.
Chef's menu is extremely pared down, which is so exciting for the diner. Rather than complex descriptions of each dish, Waffle House uses pictures. I ordered coffee, a waffle, a side of bacon and an egg over-easy. I watched chef gracefully prepare my meal, my server gingerly setting each plate before me individually as soon as they were ready. Speaking of plating: It's blissfully minimal. And how quirky to serve the butter in a plastic, single-serve tub on top of the waffle. Putting each item on its own plate brought back fond memories of cafeteria lunches, and the food tastes just like my hungover mom used to make. Such mouthfeel.
The interior of the space is thoughtfully presented. If you like Wes Anderson, you'll see his influence here – and as we all know, Wes Anderson-themed restaurants are trending big-time in Dallas right now. From the fluorescent ceiling lights to the welcoming flags in the parking lot to the tile work in the bathroom, the team that put this together is pulling from 1950s influences while clearly balancing right on the cutting edge of modern design. Instead of a carefully curated playlist filled with Modern Mouse and MGMT B-sides, they play no music. Phenomenal work all around – it all hammers home this unmistakable vibe of simplicity and brown. It's everything.
If you stand in just the right spot in the restroom, you can catch a reflection that would bring M. C. Escher to tears. The color palate here says, "We don't even care." But you know they do. To pull off something like this takes months of forethought. The kitschy faucet even reads "hot" on the hot side and "cold" on the cold side. On trend.
Look for Waffle House on Ross Avenue to be on next year's James Beard Awards list. Mark my words: If Dallas is ever going to get recognized as a modern food destination, this will be the place to put us on the map. Bravo, Waffle House. 

Waffle House , 5111 Ross Ave.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade