No More Waffling: Forever a Burgundian
Someone who loves food and drink, in both quality and quantity, shared among good company: this not only describes who I am as a person, but it also defines a “Burgundian.” The word evokes a sense of adventure without hurry, of travel without leaving your hometown; although for Shane Matlock, the owner of Burgundian, this way of life was introduced to him in France, where he was stationed while serving in the US Army. He later worked for Collette Tours, where he discovered the street food culture of Latin America. All of these culinary influences – from coffee and waffles in Belgium to street food in Peru and Argentina – can be found at Matlock’s new brick-and-mortar location in Attleboro, MA.
The Burgundian, however, is not a new concept to grace our food scene. Exactly 202 weeks before their opening, (not that anyone’s counting) I tried my first Liège Belgian waffle at Bayberry Beer Hall, where Matlock and his trusty sidekick Brad “Waffle Boy” Lavoie were popping up in 2017. That day changed my life: I fell in love with a waffle. It was topped with coffee milk mascarpone whipped cream and an espresso fudge drizzle. My friend and I created a new hashtag that night, #waffleywedded, because we were so enamored with this magnificent creation. We returned for second helpings, checking the waffle makers’ left hands for wedding bands – love knows no limits – and asked, “Who are you? What voodoo magic do you possess? How can waffles taste this good?”
Even though Matlock is already married (you’re a lucky woman, Karen!), he let us in on the secret of his waffles, which I proudly touted henceforth as an unofficial Burgundian representative – Liège waffles are created from brioche-like dough instead of batter, which lends itself to a denser, almost buttery experience. The recipe also calls for pearl sugar, which are shaped into small clusters and caramelize when heated. Without a doubt, the Burgundian delivers the most superior waffles, surpassing all others in quality and taste, even in their unadulterated, topping-less form.
But ordering the plain waffle is a hard choice to make with so many sweet and savory options. The Fried Chicken and Waffles is a classic, and specials range from the Tuscan Waffle – a sun-dried tomato & basil Liège waffle served with Italian sausage – to a Christmas-themed Gingerbread Waffle, made from their own spice blend and fresh ginger, topped with orange-ginger caramel and fresh sugared cranberries.
I was at one of their brewery pop-ups and asked for a combination of two of their waffle toppings (let’s just say sausage-gravy was involved). Another guest saw it and I talked it up, so they went up and ordered “The Jenny.” I felt like I’d truly made it.
Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when the Burgundian expanded their menu to include “well-travelled street food,” from Peruvian pork belly sandwiches to Filipino street noodle bowls. And finally, after four years of food truck events, brewery pop-ups, and food expo appearances, their storefront opened its doors in Attleboro, about 10 minutes north of Providence.
Warm light beckons passersby through large, front-facing windows, and the inside is industrial yet classy: red brick walls, hardwood floors, exposed bulb chandeliers. The space feels open and inviting, with two corner nooks and a central dining area. It’s a seat-yourself affair, where you order at the counter and take a number – strikingly like Bayberry Beer Hall. Some of Rhode Island’s finest were in attendance that night, like David Dadekian of Eat Drink RI and his wife, Brenda; Robin Dionne of RI Veg Fest and her musician husband, Bernard; local artist Rachel Brask (whose artwork is featured on the walls of the restaurant) and her husband, Pete Hutchinson, an official Burgundian himself. Food and drink, in quality and quantity, shared among good company.
For the main course, my friends and I shared three entrees spanning three continents. First, a vegetarian Korean Jackfruit Sando, made with braised jackfruit, spicy Korean coleslaw, and pineapple salsa, served on a griddled brioche bun. It must be noted that not all jackfruit is created equal (or at least not marinated to its finest), but the Burgundian has mastered the texture and taste of this meat alternative. It was delicious.
The second was a Mediterranean Chicken Shawarma Wrap, which tasted as if a Middle Eastern shawarma and a Greek gyro had a baby: creamy curry chicken, tzatziki, pickled red onions, olive tapenade and a roasted garlic aioli. It was no surprise to anyone that upon seeing “tzatziki,” I chose this as my personal pick. Finally: the Peruvian “Chicharron” Pork Belly Sando. One of Matlock’s favorites, it was the star of our night: Crispy pork belly, sweet potato mousse, Peruvian Aji Creole sauce, pickled red onions and chilies – I felt the heavens open and beckon me upward. It was rich and savory, tangy and sweet, a little spicy, and oh so satisfying.
Despite being full, we couldn’t say no to the Rum Raisin Liège Waffle Bread Pudding (a la mode). I have no words, only the memory of sweet-buttery-caramel-rum-raisin goodness paired with contented hums and sighs and the sound of spoons scraping against the plate. This concluded an evening of a long-awaited grand debut.
As I conclude this piece, I must also report my time here in Rhode Island is ending. I am moving to another state in the new year, and I’d like to say farewell to the faithful readers of Motif. Thank you for coming alongside me as I have journeyed through the food landscape in RI during the past eight years. The irony is that I’m leaving RI to get married – I’m becoming #waffleywedded! – but no matter where I find myself, I will always have a place in my heart for this wonderful, crazy hidden gem of a state we call Lil’ Rhody. Most importantly, and perhaps this goes without saying, I’ll forever be a Burgundian. I bid you all to do the same.
Burgundian, 55 Park Street, Attleboro, MA.