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WCCO Viewers' Choice For Best Waffles In Minnesota

NISSWA, Minnesota (WCCO) -- They're not just for breakfast anymore. Waffles are being redefined.

That's what Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield found out when she went to Nisswa to find the best waffle, and she also found a young entrepreneur with a plan.

In the resort town of Nisswa, it may seem like there's not much to see this time of year. But the locals insist there is something to taste, inside a log cabin restaurant called The Iron Waffle.

With its apple pie-flavored waffles, waffle breakfast sandwiches, and other unique waffle recipes, one diner said "it might be the best waffle in the country."

And the woman behind the operation may be the youngest person in the room. Stacy Stranne was 24 when she opened the place. It's only been open for just over a year and already they've seen success.

"It has been, like, way more than what we had ever expected or even planned for or prepared for," Stranne said.

Stranne is a Nisswa native. A few years back she and her boyfriend, Jeremiah, had a snack that would feed their future: A liege-style waffle from a food truck in Colorado.

"We tried them and they were like so good and it's like you eat it and it's like I need to have more than that, keeps you like wanting more," Stranne said.

It was a craving she just couldn't shake.

"I kinda had the opportunity to lease this building and do something with it if I wanted to and I was like 'I know exactly what I would do.' And we got that waffle iron and we started playing around," she said.

Up to that point, Stranne had done a lot of playing around, you could say she was waffling through life.

"I guess I've never really been good at anything. I didn't like school, you know what I mean, like, so this is the first thing that really like clicked and worked for me," she said.

Now, others work for her. Kay, one of her cooks, used to be her boss at Dairy Queen -- now she is a proud employee of the Iron Waffle.

When Stranne and her boyfriend opened the doors last summer, she recalls, "Like all the tables were full. And like I called my mom and my stepdad and I said, 'We need help, can you come and do the dishes.'"

Her Mother, Michelle Meyer, said "the first few months were rough, let me tell you that. The first few months were rough, she was here probably 16 hours a day not getting any sleep, it was rough for mom to see her going through that."

But things got sweeter, thanks to their liege-style waffle. It's a less known type of Belgium waffle -- heavier and doesn't involve any batter. Stranne says because it's denser, it's smaller and fills you up faster.

Stranne starts by mixing dough, letting it rise and preparing it in a special iron for two minutes. It has a special sugar that crystalizes like crème brule.

Her menu includes a waffle with goat cheese, bacon and honey, another with bananas and Nutella, another with marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers and another with cookie spread and ice cream.

It's a menu people are quite attached to.

"It's delicious, we come here every week," diner Leslie Kennedy said.

With tears in her eyes, Stranne told us she is proud.

"I think once you finally find what you're passionate for, or like what you're supposed to do or what you're supposed to click with, that you'll stick with it," Stranne said.

She sure did stick with it proving waffling isn't always a bad thing.

The Iron Waffle just switched to summer hours, you can get a taste on Friday thru Sunday.

Other top waffle shops include: Buzz Café, Central Park Coffee in Owatonna, and L'etoile du Nord café in Bayport.


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