The title “Sweet Potato Waffle Waffle Fries” should stick out on a menu itself, but it’s not the primary way people learn about them.
“A lot of people aren’t sure what they are,” Albany Cafe waitress Peggy Hartley said. “People catch on by smelling them as they come out of the kitchen.”
For the last year or so, Albany Cafe has served an appetizer with levels.
They aren’t just fries. They aren’t just sweet potato fries. They aren’t just sweet potato waffle fries. They are sweet potato waffle fries dipped in waffle batter, adding for an extra sweetness and unique flavor combination.
Sysco, one of Albany Cafe’s distributors, brought in a sample for the staff to try nearly two years ago.
“We started dipping it in that caramel dipping sauce and said, ‘yeah, we can sell this,’” Hartley said.
Sysco’s first mention of the dish was in August of 2016. In a YouTube video talking about the new “Sysco Imperial Waffle Waffle Fries,” Sysco noted the increased restaurant consumption of sweet potatoes, waffles and hash browns/potatoes at non-traditional times. Sysco labeled them as “new and exclusive to Sysco.”
Sysco also noted that emerging generations would be interested in the alternative snack, but Hartley first noticed popularity among older customers. Sweet potatoes aren’t as common in home cooking and are often associated with holidays, making the Sweet Potato Waffle Waffle Fries a nice treat.
Hartley first tried the appetizer dipped in caramel sauce, and doing so with cinnamon sugar sprinkled over top is the most popular. But customers have found their own ways to enjoy them.
“Some will even put a packet of butter over it,” she said.
Whether with butter, caramel sauce, or honey mustard, the popularity of the new fries has moved past the older generation. Sales have significantly in the last six months as people catch on.
“Now there’s no age demographics at all,” Hartley said. “Everybody loves them.”