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June 24, 2022

Waffles – almost any style

Waffles are not just for breakfast anymore. That’s what many
customers at Terry’s Gourmet Waffle House have found out.
Waffles are not just for breakfast anymore. That’s what many customers at Terry’s Gourmet Waffle House have found out.

Open for the last nine months, the San Juan Bautista restaurant has tickled the palates of many. The menu is constantly changing, thanks to owner Terry Powell, who continues to add new dishes.

“I’ve worked in a variety of places through the years, but I prefer the small quaint, intimate place like this, versus the big, impersonal restaurant,” Powell said. “I love the contact with the customers. That’s why I like this place. It allows me to maintain customer contact.”

Powell has 25 years of restaurant experience from serving to management, but didn’t own a restaurant until now.

“I wanted to bring a diner to San Juan,” she said. “A friend and I were sitting in a restaurant one day, wondering what food to feature when the idea of waffles struck.”

So she started testing different recipes on her family and friends.

“I started out simple with breakfast waffles. Then I started playing around with different types of waffles, learning what I could and couldn’t do,” she said. “I change the menu about once a month. I include a test-waffles menu. People order the test waffles and let me know if they’re a keeper or not.”

Powell isn’t afraid to try new ideas, including those suggested by her clientele. If a dish goes over well, she’ll name it for the customer who suggested it.

Powell’s favorite is the Red, White and Blue Waffle, which she called “really decadent.” The top sweet waffle is the Praline Sauce and Banana, and the Ham, Onion and Cheese Stuffed Waffle tops the non-sweet list. Other favorites include chili-cheese and biscuits and gravy waffles. This month’s test waffle favorite is the Salmon Lover.

“The feedback I’ve had since I opened has all been positive,” Powell said. “Then last week I had my first complaint – someone said I put too much topping on the waffles. That’s something I can live with.”

Powell makes thick Belgian waffles and also what she calls “boring waffles” – no topping, no fillings, only syrup and butter.

“I have one regular group that comes in every Saturday,” she said. “At least one will order the boring waffle just because I give them such a bad time.”

On Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. customers can choose from a special menu that includes a one-quarter waffle and coffee – a great way to try a variety of different waffles. During happy hour there are no coupons or discounts.

Powell also offers a free waffle to anyone on their birthday with a photo ID, and the restaurant gives an “age of distinction” discount to anyone over 55 – a 20 percent discount on Thursdays and 10 percent other days.

Powell encourages breakfast meetings but asks that parties of 10 or more make reservations. She can also accommodate groups for meetings on days the restaurant is usually closed.

During special events in San Juan, such as craft fairs and antique shows, Powell is happy to deliver early-morning waffles to vendors.

Powell is also a professional photographer, and the photos that hang in the diner are her work.

“But I’m looking for local artists wanting to display their photography or artwork on our walls,” she said. “They can even sell them if they’d like. The only stipulation is they have to be framed.”

Terry’s Gourmet Waffle House is located at 106 Third Street, next to Dona Esther in San Juan. Open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information, call 623-4298.

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