Saluting Birchwood Cafe’s Savory Waffle

An experimental brunch item that changes with the seasons

Photo by Casie Beldo

As of this issue, I’ve been in my post at Minnesota Monthly for one year, so I’m in a celebratory mood. It’s an ideal brunch set-up: A significant moment in your life amplified by a truly top-notch meal.*

For this occasion, I have chosen to devour the Twin Cities brunch item I’ve ordered the most, Birchwood Cafe’s savory waffle. This mouth-watering platter features a sunny-side egg, bacon lardoons, and maple syrup atop a sturdy waffle. I also like it because it’s an incubator for new culinary ideas.

How so? This popular waffle has gone through more than 100 seasonal variations since it hit the menu a decade ago, according to Marshall Paulsen, Birchwood’s chef and facilitative leader. The waffle batter itself mixes different grains or vegetables—from quinoa to pumpkin to zucchini—and the toppings evolve, too. Your dollop of butter could be flavored with strawberry basil walnut or brown sugar sage, and an equally impressive array of chutneys, compotes, and jams come and go. The waffle’s squares put you in control: Cordon off each flavor or experiment. Like this very magazine, it’s that perfect blend of locally sourced consistency and whimsy.

My savory waffle is in good local company. In our new “Best Brunch” feature, food editor Jason DeRusha has scoured the tables across the region for dozens more ways to stay close to your neighborhood, or to venture farther out for high-quality weekend cuisine. When it’s time to celebrate—be it extending a great weekend, toasting an important milestone, or just treating your busy self to a rare solo meal—you’ll be ready.

–Reed Fischer, Senior Editor

*Note: Even if bottomless mimosas help you forget a sad omelette and burnt potatoes, they should not be forgiven.