A Bite Out of Charlottesville: Iron Paffles

Curious combinations make these specialties a must-try.

It’s hard to decide what’s the best part of Iron Paffles & Coffee: the waffle wrapped delicacies on the menu or the story behind how those special recipes made it to Charlottesville. We sat down with Iron’s owner Kathryn Matthews at her restaurant to learn more about this delicious niche food concept.

Hailing from Grimsby, a town on the northeast coast of England, Matthews brought her love of breakfast food to our corner of the U.S. in the form of paffles. A “paffle” is puff pastry dough baked in a waffle iron- and then stuffed with other yummy ingredients.

Matthews’ paffle creations date back to her college days. “I had been making puff pastry for the longest time and whenever I had puff pastry leftover I would throw it in a waffle iron and make sandwiches with it,” explains Matthews.

Charlottesville certainly isn’t short on local businesses or unique restaurants, but there’s something unforgettable about biting into your first paffle. The subtle sweetness and flaky texture of the baked puff pastry is satisfying in the best way. There’s also a surprising harmony between that sweet pastry and the contents sandwiched between it. The hardest part? Picking one to try!

Iron’s menu has something for everyone. Matthews says some of the options are inspired by southern fare, and that all of them incorporate local, all natural ingredients. The menu at Iron changes seasonally but always offers both sweet and savory choices.

During our visit, Emily Hybl and I sampled two paffles, one savory and one sweet. Emily tried the Chicken & Paffle, a cool take on the classic chicken and waffle dish. This one takes things to the next level, with organic fried chicken smothered in mac and cheese, grits, and sausage gravy. She thought the flaky texture and savory contents were an interesting combo, and that the consistency of the mac and cheese tied everything together.

I chowed down on the Iron Maiden, a paffle stuffed with organic banana and a hazelnut spread filling. For lack of a better word, it was absolutely delicious. This paffle is the perfect snack for those seeking a sweet treat at any time of day. There are no bad choices at Iron Paffles & Coffee, so be sure to stop in and say hi to Kathryn (she loves chatting with customers) and try a paffle – there’s even a discount with a student ID.

Learn more about Kathryn and Southern food with a twist:

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