Monday, January 21, 2013

Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe Reigns Supreme

For more than 40 years, the iconic Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe in downtown Chapel Hill has produced transcendent morning meals savored by students, locals and visitors. Let me just say this right up front: There’s not a place within 100 miles that serves up a better made-to-order full-service breakfast.

Without question, Ye Olde is a bona fide hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint. Where else do you go and find a guy washing dishes in the open air right beside the dude who’s cracking the eggs? Never mind that on the day I visited, the cozy dining room in the back was easily 10 degrees too cold. But nobody seemed to complain, as they filled their mouths with savory omelets, sweet waffles and diner-grade coffee. 

The restaurant also has significant history literally built into its walls. The back dining room’s cross-timbered beams and exposed brick walls were sourced from an old Greek Orthodox Church where Ye Olde’s late founder, Jimmy Chris, married his wife in 1968. 

If you manage to score a counter seat up front, you can watch the cooks make omelets and pour the special mix into the waffle irons. It’s an inspiring sight.

Among the 10 available omelets, the beef-infused stroganoff and spinach-feta rise above the rest. Whatever you do, be sure to try Big Jim’s hashbrowns, which are topped with sautéed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Simply otherworldly. 

When it comes to waffles, you can’t go wrong with pecan, blueberry or apple cinnamon. Fluffy, hubcap-sized pancakes are equally rewarding.

Service is efficient and mostly pleasant, even when servers occasionally struggle to keep coffee cups filled. The lines can get wickedly long, particularly when the Tarheels have a home game. The best time to go? Try 9 a.m. on a Monday. Thankfully, Ye Olde recently broke from its longstanding cash-only policy and now accepts major credit cards.


Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe on Urbanspoon


  1. I love waffles and pancakes. I was always a breakfast person. I also like tea that's why I look forward to out trips to London because the hotels serve great pastries and tea in their "high tea."

    -Mischna Ong

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