Three years ago, Orlando and Jennifer Matthews opened a café in New Orleans, offering the usual fare: coffee, pastries, breakfast items. It soon became clear to them that they needed a specialty — a twist, if you will, to set them above all the competition in the Crescent City. During a trip to Atlanta in 2018, the couple discovered chicken & waffles. Orlando said this idea seemed perfect to add to their cafe, but they needed more — “We wanted to put our own twist on the recipe,” he said.
They also wanted a catchy name, something to represent their innovative spirit. Jennifer Matthews was on it. “We brainstormed for a while, then I came up with ‘Twisted Waffles.’ We knew that was it, and there was no turning back,” she said.
They returned home and set to work developing and refining their recipes through endless experimentation.
“Our kitchen was the lab,” Orlando said. “We’d have waffle irons lined up and everybody in the family gave us their input. We still test recipes constantly, and we ask our customers for their thoughts on everything.”
Twisted Waffles began to take off.
Matthews moved to New Iberia in late 2018, joining the New Iberia Police Department. He looked around the area and noticed there was nothing here like his café. The idea of expansion of Twisted Waffles into his new hometown was born. He scouted locations and started planning. Twisted Waffles on South Lewis Street opened quietly on Feb. 22, with a Grand Opening slated for Sunday, March 14.
“We’re a family owned and operated business, and we cook everything with love,” Matthews said. “Our kids work with us: our son Jawan cooks at the New Orleans location, and daughter Jashon helps run New Iberia.”
Wife Jennifer supervises the kitchen at both locations, and she leads the testing and tasting of recipes.
“It really is a reversal of roles, now. When we first started, Orlando was the cook. My mother still can’t believe I’m so involved with cooking,” she said.
“People love our chicken,” says Matthews. “The reason is we marinate it for 24 hours and fry it just right, crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. It is our goal to put love into it and deliver a good product.”
Not in a waffle mood? No problem. Twisted Waffles also offers its versions of many breakfast and lunch items. Twisted Waffles’ Creole Grits pairs grits with a savory sauce with shrimp. There is also a slate of sandwiches and burgers, including their original Hot Sausage Sandwich, which boasts a patty rather than the traditional sausage link. Salads round out the menu, along with sides like macaroni & cheese, fresh fruit, seasoned potatoes (another popular favorite, according to Matthews) and twice-baked potato casserole.
At Twisted Waffles, they have pledged to continue to innovate, with Sweet Potato Waffles and Waffle Bowls, the latter with your choice of sweet or savory fillings. There are also plans on the drawing board to introduce cornbread waffle bowls with red beans & rice or pasta.
“We’re testing now. We want to have something different on the menu all the time,” Matthews said.
Twisted Waffles is located at 619 South Lewis Street in New Iberia and is open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Twist it up — dine in, take out, or delivery on Waitr.