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Swaffles1201 5th Ave. North Nashville, TN
Reviewed by: Clay
I first heard about Swaffles through the Scout Mob app and email offerings, and then subsequently heard about it by word of mouth. After one ill-fated attempt to visit Swaffles last month (they are closed on Monday’s, but luckily for me, The Red Bicycle is open), I was finally able to pay this unique shop a visit.
Located in the Germantown neighborhood right across from Germantown Cafe, Swaffles is unique in that they serve a variety of swaffles. As you may have guessed, a swaffle is a sandwich served on a waffle instead of bread. They offer both sweet and savory swaffles in addition to sides, baked goods, and bottled drinks. Orders are placed at a the counter and then brought out to you. This is a small shop, and there is limited seating; just a few tables inside and out, but it wasn’t busy on our visit.
After checking out the menu and consulting with the friendly staff, my accomplice and I decided to share one sweet and one savory swaffle and two sides. We settled on the Southern (fried chicken, shredded jack cheese, tomato and greens) and the S’more (chocolate, marshmallow, graham cracker, cinnamon) with hash browns (meh) and sweet potato fries (perfect and delicious).
The kitchen was open and we could see our food being prepared with care. The sliced french fries looked so delicious that I almost changed my order from hash browns to fries, but stuck to my guns. I was very pleased to see that Swaffles’ waffles are the regular, non-Belgian variety (like Waffle House). I am probably one of the few people who favor this type of waffle over Belgian. I prefer the texture and the flavor (softer, not as sweet).
The food came out after a short wait, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the presentation. The Southern was beautifully plated (well it was in a plastic basket, but still) and looked so appetizing! The waffle was folded in half along its center crease, and fried chicken tenders, ripe red tomatos, and fresh spinach were layered in between with care. The swaffle was smiling at me! The S’more was sprinkled with powdered sugar, and smelled great.
My first impression upon biting into the Southern was that the waffle didn’t change the sandwich as much as I expected. The waffle flavor was more subtle than expected. This was probably a good thing, as it allows the ingredients to shine. The main difference was the pillowy, springy texture, which I liked. The tomato and spinach were fresh, ripe, and just as tasty as they looked. The chicken was tender and golden fried. The Southern was good, but it seemed to be lacking something. I wish that they offered it with “hot” chicken or even buffalo chicken, or maybe some more adventurous sauces. As is, the Southern is fine, but a little bland.
I had similar feelings about the S’more. It was good, but not nearly as good as a real s’more (which incidentally, I had just had the night before). This was something that I might have made at home by slathering some Nutella and marshmallow cream on a waffle. This isn’t to say that it was bad, but it just wasn’t anything special. I think on my next visit I’ll try the sticky bun or German swaffle.
Swaffles is one of several new restaurants in the modern section of Germantown, and along with The Red Bicycle, it is one of the few quick and casual options. Being right across from each other, and both showcasing a traditional breakfast item as a vehicle for both sweet and savory fillings, the two are ripe for comparison. While I enjoyed both, I think I would give the nod to The Red Bicycle by a nose, as they offered more variety and bold flavors on their menu, and their Nutella and strawberry crepe was just awesome (they also have more seating, espresso drinks, and a larger menu) That said, I’d love to see Swaffles add some more adventurous items to the menu, and I”m sure I’ll be back.