Photo courtesy of The Nook.

Cool temperatures descend on the city and breakfasts that warm the belly are what’s on the menu. Waffles of any kind are excellent, of course, but Belgian and Liege waffles could be in a class of their own. Here’s where to order them in Pittsburgh — say goodbye to your frozen toaster treats.  

What’s so special about Belgian waffles?

Not all waffles are created equal, and these specific ingredients are what make the distinction. A Belgian waffle is often thicker than our typical American diner waffles. It’s the yeasted dough and pearled sugar that gives it that slightly caramelized coating that brunch-goers crave. A Liege waffle, named after Liège, a city in a city in Belgium’s Wallonia region, is slightly smaller with rounded edges.

The story of the love for Belgian waffles in the U.S. began at the 1965 World’s Fair, where the Brussels waffle garnered the attention of attendees and it moved from a European street food to an international sensation.   

Is your mouth watering yet? Here are a few places in Pittsburgh that are serving up these sweet Belgian breakfasts with their golden crispy exterior and a fluffy doughy center.  

Treat in Shadyside brings us breakfast for dessert with the perfect pairing of local ice creams and Liege waffles. With around 30 ice cream flavors, you have plenty of opportunity to mix and match with their traditional Belgian waffles. The superlative reviews won’t come as a surprise once visitors try what’s hot off the griddle. Treat’s owner may be from Belgium, but the hospitality feels very Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of Waffallonia.

Waffallonia in Squirrel Hill is Liege waffle heaven. Each order is prepared with great care to replicate the experience of the central square of Brussels. Many of the menu items are named after cities in the Western European country. Be the office favorite and swap the boring box of doughnuts in the break room for a group order of two dozen waffles with spreads to share. Not only are the waffles delicious, but the Squirrel Hill location is eco-friendly. Their electricity is 100% from renewable resources and a concern for the environment is evident in the smallest of details, such as their compostable takeout boxes and disposable utensils. Save room for the milkshakes — a personal favorite is the Speculoos Cookies & Cream.  

Photo courtesy of Waffles INCaffenaited.

Waffles INCaffeinated is sure to awaken the soundest of sleepers with their “exquisitely wicked waffles.” With six locations throughout the city and the greater Pittsburgh area, a magical breakfast is never far away. And diners are enchanted by a variety of savory and sweet options. Don’t forget to take note of the ever-changing monthly features, which often highlight seasonal ingredients. Get creative and craft your own concoction mixing and matching their long list of toppings and sauces.  

Photo courtesy of Smashed Waffles.

Smashed Waffles are scratch-made daily with a dough, not a batter, which is what gives them a dense and sweet consistency. Not only is this Oakland eatery bringing authentic ingredients like pearl sugar from Belgium, but it also has sauces made in-house that are all-natural and pair perfectly. While the sugar may hail from Europe, there are menu items with more local origins; the coffee and espresso are from Howe Coffee Roasters of Grove City. They have both sweet and savory options along with an all-day breakfast — and like the gleeful smiley logo, it’s sure to put a grin on your face.     

Photo courtesy of The Coop Chicken and Waffles.

The Coop Chicken and Waffles serves up deep pillowy pockets filled with syrup and places a piece of crispy fried chicken atop the waffle. It’s a union of sweet and savory that anyone can enjoy. You can book the Coop food truck for your next event if you can’t get your group to their East Ohio Street location on the North Side. While the scrumptious pair may feel like it has southern roots, the Pennsylvania Dutch have a history with the delicious duo.     

Point Brugge Café and Park Bruges make up a bistro pair specializing in Belgian-inspired menu items and the waffles are no exception. The Point Breeze and Highland Park neighborhoods are lucky to have bistros with indoor and outdoor seating. While many come for the iconic moules-frites or pork belly poutine, don’t pass over the star of the show for brunch. The menu offers the classic Liege waffle with Belgian chocolate, a powdered sugar or fruit-forward option and a hearty fried chicken version. The trio of menu items make for a difficult choice, so I’d suggest trying all three!  

Photo courtesy of The Nook.

Lawrenceville’s The Nook on Butler Street has both sweet and savory options, and the selection is a crowd-pleaser. The ingredients are locally sourced with a seasonal focus, and the waffle selection will make any casual diner a regular patron. One item worth mentioning is the Incognito Chorizo Waffle, a savory waffle with plant-based, vegan chorizo and jalapeños. For a more traditional protein eater, the Waffle Benedict combines two classics into a dynamic duet. Be sure and secure a table through the waitlist system on their website.