Waffles First… and Next the World

Derrick Green of Waffles and Whatnot doesn’t think small. “At some point I said my mission statement was to go to war with the industrial food complex for the health of the country.” His mission began when he was figuring out how to create healthy food that his former wife could enjoy while undergoing chemotherapy. “I wanted to try and give her some strength and dignity.” His resulting pancake recipe became the springboard for his new business.

Waffles and Whatnot’s concept is simple: there are myriad waffles and toppings, and there’s chicken with its proprietary handmade breadings and delicious seasonings. But there’s nothing really simple about it because this classic combination of sweet, fried, and savory comes to you with your health in mind. Green has created a menu that is allergy and special-diet friendly. Who doesn’t love a menu with a note like, “All meals include a saint waffle.” (The saint is a waffle with maple caramel “care-uh-mel” drizzle. There’s also a “sinner” waffle, of course.) Another encouraging menu fact: “All waffles available as sandwiches.” Green doesn’t care if you can’t figure out what to order—if it all looks too good to decide, he and the staff are happy to have a conversation about it, or make you the “chef’s choice.”

Green calls his business a “social enterprise.” He says, “The food is going to be good, but the conversations and connections are what’s important.” Those connections reach from the back to the front of the house—from conversing with customers to bringing on and mentoring employees that might not get a chance somewhere else.

Read the rest of this incredible story in partnership with Edible Alaska here!