"He's not a kid who thinks he's going to get things."
November 3, 2011 12:34 AM   Subscribe

"You've never heard of this game. It's in only one cabinet, playable in one city and, generously estimating, maybe it makes a dollar a day. Nothing about this video game suggests it's someone's meal ticket, but it is. For life." This is the story of Off the Waffle, the arcade game made for the Eugene, OR, restaurant of the same name.

While Off the Waffle is only playable in person at the restaurant, two of the creator's other games, The Jackyard and Cart Life are available as freeware (Windows-only, alas) from his site.
posted by hades (35 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- taz

The Game? You just lost it.
posted by o0o0o at 1:05 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Anyone reading this care to set up a similar deal? HMMMMMMMM?
posted by JHarris at 1:37 AM on November 3, 2011

posted by parmanparman at 1:49 AM on November 3, 2011

I haven't had an excuse to drive to eugene in a long time, but now I think I do.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:12 AM on November 3, 2011

Actually, the more I think about it, I can't wait to tell my girlfriend we are driving to Eugene for Waffles.

Fucking Waffles!
posted by mrzarquon at 2:14 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

That entire freaking Texas Judge thread, and I didn't cry. Then I read this.
posted by anastasiav at 2:28 AM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

Off The Waffle's owners, Dave and Omer Orian, two Israeli brothers with wild haircuts, are serious about supporting the trade. "We barter," the sign says. Someone once paid for their meal with a trumpet.

posted by mannequito at 3:09 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

wow though, reading all the way through it, that's an amazing story. also, have to do it:

MetaFilter: "Let's all sit down, eat some waffles, and talk about this," he said, recognizing this was a barter.
posted by mannequito at 3:18 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Human beings are such a mystery. You read about total douchebag assholes, like The Honorable Kid Beater, Texas judge, and you despair, and hate mankind in general. And then you read a story like this, and you cheer, and think maybe we're not so bad after all. Great story.
posted by maxwelton at 3:23 AM on November 3, 2011 [11 favorites]

Lovely story. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Splunge at 4:10 AM on November 3, 2011

My dad discovered Off the Waffle soon after it opened, and it's been cool to watch it grow as a business these last few years. It used to be you'd just show up to the living room of this house, and they'd have a list of the ingredients available for that particularly day, and you'd mix and match them. I once had a waffle with cream cheese and butterscotch chips, and it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever put in my mouth.

Unfortunately the butterscotch chips fell off the recurring ingredients list, so I haven't been able to duplicate the experience in a while. These days I do mango sorbet, banana, coconut, and whipped cream. I'm basically drooling as I type this.
posted by brookedel at 4:34 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

That is an awesome story. And coincidentally, we're going to Eugene for Thanksgiving! We'll have to make a waffle stop.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:28 AM on November 3, 2011

I want to be friends with everybody involved in this story.
posted by KGMoney at 5:32 AM on November 3, 2011 [10 favorites]

What a nice little story...
posted by ph00dz at 5:56 AM on November 3, 2011

Jesus, those waffle prices are amazing - I'd eat there everyday if the restaurant was in Brisbane!
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 6:00 AM on November 3, 2011

Great story - & now I want some waffles!
posted by DanCall at 6:04 AM on November 3, 2011

Bartering for waffles!! They once took a trumpet as payment for a meal. Great story. Hope Devin does not lose his supporters as they move away.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:20 AM on November 3, 2011

Worth noting is that they serve Liège waffles, which are about as different from American waffles and even the American version of Belgian waffles as a bread-based construction can get. I learned to make them after traveling in Belgium, and they're really kind of a pain in the ass but totally worth it.

Here's the recipe I follow.

You can get the pearl sugar online... I don't recommend using the turbinado sugar, it's not the same at all. Also, if you cook a few batches the sugar left on the waffle iron will start to burn, so you might need to wipe it off a couple of times. I haven't really figured out a good way to deal with that, yet.
posted by Huck500 at 6:25 AM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

Damn, I love Eugene.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:31 AM on November 3, 2011

a cup of black coffee and a warm, plain Liège waffle is breakfast enough.

Yeah. Have you had one of those? It's enough because it's got about 2000 calories in it. Delicious, delicious calories.

I have a recipe as well, which uses honey, and is in weights and French and a huge pain in the ass but so very good. I'll share if someone prefers honey, though the recipe is otherwise pretty similar. If you don't have a waffle iron, they make delicious pancakes, but don't skip the pearl sugar.
posted by jeather at 6:35 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Aww, that's awesome.

Hofmeier said they'd installed a cheap CRT display, but he became worried about its color balance and splurged for a better one.

Interestingly, I've heard people who collect classic arcade cabinets generally prefer CRTs to maintain the original look. Though it's increasingly difficult to find high quality CRTs.

And holy cow, that menu looks incredible. I wonder if there's anybody that serves Liege waffles around here. Hmm.
posted by kmz at 6:42 AM on November 3, 2011

Surely a trumpet is worth more than a meal. I mean, even if you were to sell it to a pawn shop, you'd get more money than a meal would cost at a place like this. Wouldn't you?

I guess I don't really know how much trumpets cost and how much you can sell them to pawn shops for, but what's a meal at a waffle joint? Six bucks? Fifteen if you totally pig out?
posted by Flunkie at 7:50 AM on November 3, 2011

Nice to see an anti-scumbag story occasionally. Very nice, thanks.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:08 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks, this is a great story. I love hearing that there are people in the world who think like this. Makes me want to knit them scarves.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:24 AM on November 3, 2011

Great story. I do wonder about the pearl sugar they're using for the waffles, it's really hard to import. C&H Sugar and other American sugar producers make sure there are all kinds of taxation on imported sugar, even though nearly all sugar is produced outside the U.S.

I used to see a lot of folks who wanted to do Belgian waffles in the US but couldn't get around the pearl sugar import problem.
posted by shoesietart at 9:01 AM on November 3, 2011

Off the Waffle is fantastic! The brothers started out serving from a teeny cart outside a tattoo and piercing place, and now have a couple of restaurants. The waffles might be messy, depending on what you choose for the toppings, but mmmmmm-mmmmm are they good. Must go there very, very soon, like now.
posted by but no cigar at 9:10 AM on November 3, 2011

Well, as the owners look cool and the food looks good, I can only hope they prosper to a sickening extent. Which will hopefully mean some locations in the Midwest...
posted by Samizdata at 9:19 AM on November 3, 2011

Oh, wait, they only have one restaurant. Maybe I was just wishing for another next door to my house. Yes, come to me Off the Waffle. I'll be waiting with fork in hand.
posted by but no cigar at 9:19 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Off the Waffle is so so so good. And really interesting to watch because it was totally the story of someone figuring out how to run an actual business.
posted by aubilenon at 9:33 AM on November 3, 2011

Damn, I love Eugene.

posted by eugenen at 9:57 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

Great story.

I love that the comments on the article are mostly about the non-standard placement of the game's button and joystick.
posted by jack_mo at 9:58 AM on November 3, 2011

Gosh darn it, I was just in Eugene last weekend and didn't know about this place. Next time...waffles!
posted by janerica at 8:48 PM on November 3, 2011

It is a weird place to put a single button.
posted by mendel at 8:00 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

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