Layered Effect

For the ultimate breakfast sandwich, skip the bread

We all know that waffles partner perfectly with pats of butter and pools of maple syrup. So why improve on a classic?

Because waffle-obsessed restaurants across the country are proving there's a better way to serve this breakfast favorite: as bookends for a decadent sandwich.

Philadelphia ice cream parlor Franklin Fountain gives basic buttermilk waffles an upgrade by turning them into ice cream sandwiches. Customers can go classic with vanilla bean ice cream or step it up with a scoop of teaberry gum or pistachio, but either way, they're going big: "We stack the waffles three-high with ice cream sandwiched in between," says co-owner Ryan Berley. "It's like a Big Mac: waffle, ice cream, waffle, ice cream, waffle, then powdered sugar on top."

In Portland, Oregon, hipsters fancy Flavour Spot food stands' 10 or so varieties of "Dutch tacos" (pictured), which include the porky MB9: a thin waffle covered with maple spread and folded around strips of crispy bacon and Canadian bacon.

And at Cleveland's kitschy Melt Bar & Grilled, brunch guests don't order their fried eggs and bacon on the side. Instead, they come inside The Wake & Bacon Animal-Style waffle sandwich, a giant mess of eggs, bacon and American cheese, served with bourbon-infused maple syrup for dipping.