Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Coming soon to South L.A.: waffles

los angeles timesopinion l.a.waffle factory

WafflefactoryroundHere's one encouraging development I came across while looking into the Vermont/Manchester project: There is in fact some fine dining coming to the area, albeit not at the corner in question and not as part of any government-guided project. On the site of the legendary Kite Restaurant on the 9100 block of South Vermont Ave., a Waffle Factory restaurant is set to open within the next two weeks. 

Wafflefactorycassie_2 Waffle Factory is the brainchild of Robert Whitfield and Cassie Lowe.* Lowe is seen here on a Saturday evening spent getting the place into final order. I followed this development at a distance as Lowe and his partner Robert Whitfield came close to abandoning the deal for lack of funding. They ended up closing the financing gap and, based on the work going on in the interior, it looks like the heavy lifting is already done.

The Waffle Factory, a prime example of the kind of retail that is at the center of South L.A. foment, is located on unincorporated county land and thus is not the kind of project that would involve an organization like the Community Redevelopment Agency. In fact, if you're looking to make a case against public subsidies for development, this is a pretty good one: The founders sought money from various sources but ended up paying for it out of pocket. That may cast some uncertainty on the business: Lowe expects to pay off all his loans on the place within 10 days of opening, while Whitfield jokes that his car's about to be repossessed.

WafflefactoryrobertcassieThe bottom line is that this project is actually being completed, in contrast to visionary projects that involve buy-in from multiple parties, public funding or tax breaks, alphabet-soup agencies, and so on. If even 25% of the people who have told me the Vermont corridor lacks decent sit-down dining are willing to back that claim up with their disposable dollars, the Waffle Factory could make a fortune.

There's a paradox in South L.A. retail campaigning: On the one hand, proponents of better businesses say the neighborhood has more disposable income than squeamish retail chains and shy lending institutions believe, but on the other, the default belief seems to be that anybody who builds in the area needs all manner of breaks, subsidies and guarantees because they're building in a distressed area. Whitfield and Lowe are betting on the former claim. The menu includes both quick takes ($7.99 for an everything burger)* to more luxurious eat-in stuff (a red-meat dinner for less than $16*). Following are some pictures of the place:   

Wafflefactorykitchen

Wafflefactorystools

Wafflefactoryext

* An earlier version of this post misstated Robert Whitfield's role in the enterprise. Also some pricing information has been updated.

 

Comments () | Archives (15)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Rosebud8381

I was wondering when exactly the opening is or was. It seems llike it would be a cool place to sing2her.

Paula

If you had the honor of growing up in Los Angeles an 60's and 70"s and thought your parents had money, because they took you to one of the few Black Restaurants in the city (Kite's.) Then come back to the hood and support the Waffle Factory, who knows you may see me.

Paula

Well, I was there on opening day in the yellow top. Should I say anymore when they open at 6PM? I order the ¼ fried chicken and 1 cinnamon waffle. I was expecting a fluffy waffle and fried chicken with this flavorful taste. What I got was a cold waffle with a greases taste and chicken with no flavor chicken. On a scale of 1-5 for opening day including the service, I give them a 2. Will I go back????

Cassie

I went to the Waffle Factory at 8:00 a.m. on June 5, 2008 a Thursday morning. There was a line of people standing in the doorway waiting to place an order; there was only 1 cashier. There were people seated at tables waiting to be served. I asked a worker that appeared to just arrive to work for a take out menu. He turned and said, “She will help you” and walked away. At this point I said okay this is my sign to leave. I did not want to wait in the long line just for a menu. I think it would be a good ideal to have menus at the register so you can just take one and move on this way I can call in a take out order. I did not place an order therefore I cannot comment on the food. However, I hope this is not another great eating-place with bad service. I wish them the best but I do not think I will return the picture on the wall of the waffle is not what I had in mind.

Brandi

The Waffle Factory has become the new spot for my family and friends! Granted, since it is a brand new business, they are still working out the kinks in service, and they are constantly seeking feedback to make the place run more smoothly, but everyone I've met there is very friendly and hospitable, and they'll do whatever it takes to accommodate and please you. When there have been mistakes with my orders, they gave some of it to me for free to make up for it. The food is good and fresh, and I like the fact that I don't have to travel all the way to the Westside at night for some decent-quality food when I'm hungry after night classes.

The Food Critic from the Hood

A chain of unpleasing events regarding this new restaurant. First off, I was super excited to find out that we had a new restaurant in our community with comparison to the famous Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles...so immediately I ran down to find out what the food was like. Here's what I expeienced in chronological order:
Driving up to the front of the restaurant I noticed a couple immediate things:
a/ parking is rediculous even with the restaurants own parking lot. Some of the lot is still under construction. Not to add, there were numerous people haning out in their cars having nothing to do with the restaurant or waiting on food.
b/ ithe line of the restaurant hangs out the front door and slowly moves.

Still, I decided to proceed inside to get a menu to go. These were not located in arms length reach, Instead, I had to ask one of the restaurants "security guards" who was just standing behind the counter for a menu. Please keep in mind the line is out the door and to top it off there is only one cashier on a late Sunday morning.
I decide, me grabbing the menu to go allowed me to look over what they offered and I could look it in my car to avoid the crowded resturant and simply call in my order.
So, I get back to my car and my mouth is watering to look at this menu and call in my order. Everything sounds appetizing so immediately, my eyes go for the breakfast specials!! The had specials on the menu like The Crane, The Calorie Collector, The Regulator, The Forklift, and The Storage Bin and prices widely ranged on all these meals. My problem is they NEVER explained on the menu WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THESE MEALS? What am I really ordering?
But hey, there was a simple way to find out so I gave them the benefit of the doubt you know being a new restaurant and all. I'll just call in, you know it simplifies all of our lives. I didn't even want to give the order clerk a hard time with going over all the menu items and what was included, so hell, I decided I'd shoot for the stars and just order no matter the price or what was included, because after all if the food is good, I would return. No doubt!! And so it was done, and I called...
Only to find out the restaurant DIDN'T TAKE PHONE ORDERS as they stated they DID on THE SAME CONFUSING MENU!!
The menu also list a website of www.thewafflefactory.net which I thought would be helpful. A site that iis not yet up and running = (

After reading all the previous reviews, I doubt I will ever return. It's back to Roscoe's for me. A nice hot #9, 3 wings and a waffle with a Sunrise drink and if I'm feeling really greedy, maybe some smothered potatoes and mac and cheese!! Afterall, I LOVE ROSCOES CHICKEN AND WAFFLES.

The Food Critic from the Hood

A chain of unpleasing events regarding this new restaurant. First off, I was super excited to find out that we had a new restaurant in our community with comparison to the famous Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles...so immediately I ran down to find out what the food was like. Here's what I expeienced in chronological order:
Driving up to the front of the restaurant I noticed a couple immediate things:
a/ parking is rediculous even with the restaurants own parking lot. Some of the lot is still under construction. Not to add, there were numerous people haning out in their cars having nothing to do with the restaurant or waiting on food.
b/ ithe line of the restaurant hangs out the front door and slowly moves.

Still, I decided to proceed inside to get a menu to go. These were not located in arms length reach, Instead, I had to ask one of the restaurants "security guards" who was just standing behind the counter for a menu. Please keep in mind the line is out the door and to top it off there is only one cashier on a late Sunday morning.
I decide, me grabbing the menu to go allowed me to look over what they offered and I could look it in my car to avoid the crowded resturant and simply call in my order.
So, I get back to my car and my mouth is watering to look at this menu and call in my order. Everything sounds appetizing so immediately, my eyes go for the breakfast specials!! The had specials on the menu like The Crane, The Calorie Collector, The Regulator, The Forklift, and The Storage Bin and prices widely ranged on all these meals. My problem is they NEVER explained on the menu WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THESE MEALS? What am I really ordering?
But hey, there was a simple way to find out so I gave them the benefit of the doubt you know being a new restaurant and all. I'll just call in, you know it simplifies all of our lives. I didn't even want to give the order clerk a hard time with going over all the menu items and what was included, so hell, I decided I'd shoot for the stars and just order no matter the price or what was included, because after all if the food is good, I would return. No doubt!! And so it was done, and I called...
Only to find out the restaurant DIDN'T TAKE PHONE ORDERS as they stated they DID on THE SAME CONFUSING MENU!!
The menu also list a website of www.thewafflefactory.net which I thought would be helpful. A site that iis not yet up and running = (

After reading all the previous reviews, I doubt I will ever return. It's back to Roscoe's for me. A nice hot #9, 3 wings and a waffle with a Sunrise drink and if I'm feeling really greedy, maybe some smothered potatoes and mac and cheese!! Afterall, I LOVE ROSCOES CHICKEN AND WAFFLES.

Tom Guttman

Good All home cooking comes to Vermont. Waffles and Chicken flavors that beat Roscoes. Worth this wait.
Also fun place to people watch. I'm making this place my new hangout.

Tom / Creative Director

Tom Guttman

Hero Waitress WF .JPG

A picture says a thousand smiles at the Waffle Factory.

Tom

EricaWww

I must say they are finally getting it together, Lol. I've been there four times already and they are getting better and better. I would have to agree with Paula in the beginning but I would agree with Tom now. THE CHICKEN AND WAFFLES ARE AWESOME. But I also love the chicken fried steak and shredded chicken and cheese omlette. Ummm. AND I MET MY MENTOR THERE, MAXINE WATERS. I seen her there twice with Danny Bakewell and Bernard Parks. Oh Bernard Parks is soooooooo fine in person. He he. Anywho, I got upset at first because I didn't think they were gonna last because we desperately needed a 24 hour, I mean 25 hour ; )restaurant in our area. However, I see them working out the bugs now. "The Food Critic from the Hood" poster sounds like a "Roscoes Chicken and Waffles employee." lol. I'm gonna support these brother's and I'm soooooo happy their here.

Herman

This restaurant really surprised me. The chicken and waffles totally blew me away, not to mention all the other southern favorites. Definitely beats Roscoe's any day. I am surely going back

The Food Critic from the Hood

@ EricaWww:
1st let's make it clear.. I am only a CONSUMER!! Not to knock restaurant employees, but that is NOT MY FORTE.

It sounds to me as if you are basing your food experience on opportunities...Who you see, who's cute in person....etc...
LOL at the fact you call it a "poster"
It's just a shame that eveyone is not granted an OPINION. Actually I returned to this webiste to see if things were starting to get on the up and up with the restaurant as I planned on making another attempt to visit. A friend of mine went by and was able to pick up an updated menu and I saw many items of delight which curved my enthusiam.
You agreed with PAULA in the beginning. Much of the same things I felt just went into further detail, yet you critize my opinion and state I must be an employee? OK what makes the difference between us? Were you the employee when you agreed with Paula? I'm happy that you were able to change your mind about the place. Thats great as I said in my previous blog, we do need a great food place in the hood. I will try at it again and see what my next blog will be... afterall, you did say they are just getting it together.
TO MAKE IT PLAIN AND SIMPLE TO THE SIMPLE MINDED... I'M NOT HATING ON THE RESTAURANT...I WANT IT TO DO WELL AND BRING REVENUE TO THE COMMUNITY...I AM SIMPLY A CONSUMER 1ST AND A CRITIC TO FOLLOW (based on MY dealings...not yours!!).
Hope you interpret that correctly EricaWww!!!

Member of the Community

I drive by this place all the time but I still have not gone in, I've read mixed reviews and that stops me from walking in, I really hate bad service and the reviews don't help this place at all. I will wait a little longer before I make my self a customer. The place does look nice and clean which its already a plus.

Community Membert

dissaointed

We went this past weekend, to kill the temptation of going.
the food is tasty, the prices though , leave a very bad taste in your mouth, the cashier kelly needs to brush up on her customer service skills really bad..

for 1 combo of 2 small waffles, 1 piece of chicken 2 eggs, 1 drink and a side piece of small chicken , it was 22.00

will we be returning??? Uh I think NOT!!!!!

Ron Washington

Let me start by saying that I was glad that there was a new place to eat at the old Kite's spot. And I've been wanting to go there for several months now. when they originally opened, the place was open 24 hours a day (like the old Kite's) After about a month or so i noticed that they were closing at about 9 or so. I thought maybe some type of crime had risen it's head there so they needed to close early. And that STILL may be the reason.....but I doubt it. I finally got a chance to eat there this past weekend and I was VERY disappointed. Maybe I was expecting too much or maybe I'm spoiled but I just ordered the #1 special which is bacon, eggs and grits. Now me being a black man to me you don't eat grits without butter!!!!! That's just the way I was raised. i had to ASK for the butter and it took the waitress 15 minutes to bring it to me!!! The other thing was the meal did not come with toast!!! You had to order it as an extra. I would think that any breakfast would come with toast, unless it's a pancake or waffle breakfast. So there I was eating my over easy eggs with a spoon to eat the running yolks! Pet peeves? Maybe but everywhere else I've eaten gives you TOAST! The place is beautiful though and i will give it another shot. I'll keep you up to date.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


Categories


Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »

Archives
 


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



In Case You Missed It...