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Still not typical

There's no waffling on the concept, despite a rebrand

A smoked salmon waffle deviates from the norm
A smoked salmon waffle deviates from the norm
Place

Atypical Waffle Company

3519 30th Street, San Diego

Wow Wow Waffle never occupied a typical location. Its kitchen is built into a freestanding two-car garage that sits behind the 30th Street Laundry coin-op wash and dry. It’s easy to miss, because there’s not a typical restaurant sign out front. So, despite driving by often, it took me a while to realize the place had changed its name earlier this spring. Fittingly, it’s now called Atypical Waffle Company.

Apparently, the name change has to do with its relation to the broader Wow Wow Waffle brand, which started serving waffles and lemonade in Northern California and subsequently moved to Hawaii. But in Hawaii, lemonade proved more popular, leading its founders to rebrand as Wow Wow Lemonade. That Wow Wow brand will soon expand to San Diego, so the owners of our local offshoot, sticking primarily to waffle-based dishes, have graciously relinquished the Wow Wow name to make room for their friends.

Little has changed on the waffle front. The house specialty remains the Liege style of Belgian waffles: soft, brioche-inspired waffles that use beet-derived pearl sugar to furnish caramelize crusts.

Atypical Waffle still offers sweet and savory waffle constructions — though now there’s a middle category labeled “not as sweet,” which includes the likes of a Greek yogurt, fruit, and granola “parfait waffle” ($6.50). I arrived too close to the breakfast and lunch spot’s 2pm closing time to try this one — Atypical had run out of yogurt.

It had also run out of turkey, so I couldn’t order one of the more intriguing additions to the savory menu. The “turkey sammie” ($8.75) uses waffles as bread for a sandwich including red pepper, arugula, mozzarella cheese, and mayo. Fortunately, Atypical hadn’t run out of smoked salmon this day, so I was quite pleased to order the Dan Loxman, a regular fixture that dresses the smoked fish with cream cheese, red onions, and capers for $8.75. This day, they were adding avocado as well, so lucky me.

The outdoor space surrounding that converted garage has changed since I first visited nearly four years ago. There’s an airstream trailer back there now, mostly for storage and décor from the looks of it. The old rows of stadium seating remain, though now they’re mostly set around tables beneath wooden pergolas build against rain. Additional seating in the back now includes a bizarre tent designed to resemble a vintage Volkswagen bus, a fire pit, and a small, elevated stage populated by an acoustic guitar.

Initially, I was skeptical of the smoked salmon and sweet waffle combo, because when I order the dish’s bagel inspiration, I would never order cinnamon raisin, blueberry, or any other sweet bagel option. But it’s not like Atypical inserted one of its delicious chocolate filled waffles here. The cream cheese tied the smoky and sweet together just enough to make it work, and the caper/onion flavors otherwise steered the meal firmly into the savory column.

It may be an atypical breakfast item, in an atypical restaurant. But it still merits a couple of wows.

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A smoked salmon waffle deviates from the norm
A smoked salmon waffle deviates from the norm
Place

Atypical Waffle Company

3519 30th Street, San Diego

Wow Wow Waffle never occupied a typical location. Its kitchen is built into a freestanding two-car garage that sits behind the 30th Street Laundry coin-op wash and dry. It’s easy to miss, because there’s not a typical restaurant sign out front. So, despite driving by often, it took me a while to realize the place had changed its name earlier this spring. Fittingly, it’s now called Atypical Waffle Company.

Apparently, the name change has to do with its relation to the broader Wow Wow Waffle brand, which started serving waffles and lemonade in Northern California and subsequently moved to Hawaii. But in Hawaii, lemonade proved more popular, leading its founders to rebrand as Wow Wow Lemonade. That Wow Wow brand will soon expand to San Diego, so the owners of our local offshoot, sticking primarily to waffle-based dishes, have graciously relinquished the Wow Wow name to make room for their friends.

Little has changed on the waffle front. The house specialty remains the Liege style of Belgian waffles: soft, brioche-inspired waffles that use beet-derived pearl sugar to furnish caramelize crusts.

Atypical Waffle still offers sweet and savory waffle constructions — though now there’s a middle category labeled “not as sweet,” which includes the likes of a Greek yogurt, fruit, and granola “parfait waffle” ($6.50). I arrived too close to the breakfast and lunch spot’s 2pm closing time to try this one — Atypical had run out of yogurt.

It had also run out of turkey, so I couldn’t order one of the more intriguing additions to the savory menu. The “turkey sammie” ($8.75) uses waffles as bread for a sandwich including red pepper, arugula, mozzarella cheese, and mayo. Fortunately, Atypical hadn’t run out of smoked salmon this day, so I was quite pleased to order the Dan Loxman, a regular fixture that dresses the smoked fish with cream cheese, red onions, and capers for $8.75. This day, they were adding avocado as well, so lucky me.

The outdoor space surrounding that converted garage has changed since I first visited nearly four years ago. There’s an airstream trailer back there now, mostly for storage and décor from the looks of it. The old rows of stadium seating remain, though now they’re mostly set around tables beneath wooden pergolas build against rain. Additional seating in the back now includes a bizarre tent designed to resemble a vintage Volkswagen bus, a fire pit, and a small, elevated stage populated by an acoustic guitar.

Initially, I was skeptical of the smoked salmon and sweet waffle combo, because when I order the dish’s bagel inspiration, I would never order cinnamon raisin, blueberry, or any other sweet bagel option. But it’s not like Atypical inserted one of its delicious chocolate filled waffles here. The cream cheese tied the smoky and sweet together just enough to make it work, and the caper/onion flavors otherwise steered the meal firmly into the savory column.

It may be an atypical breakfast item, in an atypical restaurant. But it still merits a couple of wows.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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