Tucked between a silver Airstream trailer and the bar at Monday Night Brewing‘s Garage is a turquoise food truck with waffle-shaped spotlights painted on the side. Betty’s Waffle Emporium, helmed not by “Betty” but by Chicago native Jen Wesley, set up shop in July and serves savory and sweet waffles Fridays through Sundays at the West End brewery.
Wesley, who moved to Atlanta four years ago, had spent most of her culinary career in the coffee industry (she started as a barista and became a “coffee sommelier”) and later worked as a baker. Intrigued by the beer-making process, she knew she wanted to eventually work at a brewery and successfully applied for a chef job with the Monday Night team. The group brainstormed what type of food should be served at the Garage, the brewery’s popular Southwest Trail taproom. They wanted something that would not only be a hit with customers, but would pair well with Monday Night’s brews.
“We were sitting around talking about what would go great with beer, and somebody said waffles. We all kind of chuckled at it, but then we stopped and looked around and thought, ‘Huh, that actually would work.'” Wesley says.
It’s a natural fit for a brewery, she explains. Waffles aren’t too inherently sweet and don’t leave a strong aftertaste when paired with beer. And they’re good for sopping up alcohol.
“We’re in Atlanta. Where does everyone go after they get out of the club and the bars? They go to Waffle House, right?” she says. “It’s a great drunk food.”
She began crafting different recipes. The current menu has five waffles—three savory and two sweet—that each has its own suggested beer pairing. The classic chicken and waffles features fried chicken beer-battered with Monday Night’s Slap Fight IPA, then dredged in Wesley’s signature condiment, maple Sriracha syrup. She discovered the sauce in “a drunk accident” years ago by inadvertently dumping maple syrup on top of Sriracha-laden chicken and waffles, and later perfected the blend of the tangy, not overly spicy syrup. The chicken is paired with chow chow from fellow Lee + White tenant, Doux South.
Another savory option, the pulled pork waffle, sandwiches pork topped with a thin peach sauce between two crisp waffles, and is served with a side of Fritos. It too benefits from adding a generous drizzle of the maple Sriracha syrup. The Breakfast Anytime waffle is also a “sandwich,” with scrambled eggs, Delia’s Chicken Sausage, and cheese, paired with fruit.
Wesley herself is a recent vegetarian, which is part of why she offers a meatless version of her chicken and waffles that tops a vegan waffle with beer-battered cauliflower steak.
The sweet waffles include a spin on an apple brown Betty—a waffle topped with thick apple pie filling, heavy cinnamon, and circle of pie crust—and a chocolate bubble waffle topped with fresh fruit and Nutella.
So where did the truck get its name? The “Betty” in question is actually one of the brewer’s dogs, but it’s also the name of Wesley’s grandmother and felt like a fit for a comfort food truck.
As for what’s next, Wesley says she’s experimenting with some holiday flavors (think gingerbread), so keep an eye open for winter specials.