Midtown Raleigh News

Wiggins: Raleigh’s Beth Wadsworth doesn’t waffle about her new-found calling

Beth Wadsworth whips up a batch of waffles at her stand at the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market. She has been marketing her waffles in REW's Kitchen since April.
Beth Wadsworth whips up a batch of waffles at her stand at the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market. She has been marketing her waffles in REW's Kitchen since April. Lori Wiggins

When Angela Battle’s sister visited her Knightdale home over the Fourth of July holiday, she got a warm treat – thanks to Midtown’s very own waffle engineer.

That’s Beth Wadsworth, owner of REW’s Kitchen, which specializes in gourmet pre-mixed waffle batter in a variety of breakfast and dessert flavors. There’s the REWiginal, the original waffle. And there’s sweet potato, gingerbread, vegan, red velvet, carrot cake, pineapple, oat/wheat, low-sugar, gluten-free and dark chocolate. Wadsworth is creating recipes for cheesecake, chocolate mint, dreamsicle and cornbread waffles.

Battle served her sister one of Wadsworth’s newest waffle creations, a low-sugar one suited for diabetic diets. Wadsworth introduced a gluten-free waffle just three weeks ago.

“That’s what Beth does: She takes the time to listen to people,” Battle said, explaining all she did was mention how much her sister would love her waffles if diabetes didn’t keep her away, and Wadsworth went to work in her test kitchen. “That’s special. Most people don’t do that.”

In April, Wadsworth, 42, debuted her waffles to the community as a new vendor at the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market, which runs through October. Wadsworth spends each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “waffling around,” serving samples of about 200 freshly cooked REW’s Kitchen’s signature waffles, in two flavors.

Many become customers on the spot, placing pre-orders of 32-ounce, quart-sized jars of waffle batter. The average cost per jar: $10-$12. The batter can be refrigerated or frozen. It can be cooked fresh each day, or the batter can be cooked all at once and the waffles frozen. To heat, Wadsworth suggests the oven, toaster or microwave.

“I’ve tried everything she’s made,” said Renea Evans, who works at nearby BB&T, as she picked up her weekly REWiginal waffle order last week. “I’m not really a waffle person, but I like that one. I never get tired of it.”

Evans cooks her waffles from the fridge. Battle cooks and freezes hers in serving-size portions.

“My husband loves them,” said Battle, who works downtown. “He nibbles on them all week, so she’s actually the reason I come to the Farmers Market every Wednesday.

“Our favorite is the sweet potato,” Battle said, adding they ordered sweet potato batter at least seven times before they tried any other flavors.

The luxury of choice is largely owed to Wadsworth’s response to a layoff from WakeMed. In search of intellectual stimulation, Wadsworth enrolled in a Wake Tech culinary program. By the time she graduated last May with a culinary certificate, Wadsworth knew what she wanted to do: “I wanted to reintroduce the waffle iron back to the top of the cabinet,” she said. “The possibilities are limitless.”

She also knew she’d found another calling.

“I really dug deep and realized I don’t want to work for somebody else,” she said. “I wanted to be a small business owner an entrepreneur my own boss. I want to call the shots.

“I want to show my daughter if you have a passion and the willingness to put in the hard work, you can create something that will last forever.”

I found REW’s Kitchen on a downtown stroll, beckoned by a trio of senses: the sight of a sampling display to rival any in Harper’s Bazaar; the wafting aroma of fresh waffles, with a curiosity-rousing twist; and the voice of Margie Green asking, “Would you like to sample the waffles?” in a tone as sure and sweet as my own grandmother’s.

Green is grandma to Randi Elisabeth Wadsworth, Beth’s 10-year-old daughter, named for her mom, whose first name is Elisabeth, and her dad, Randy Edward Wadsworth. Her initials are the name for her mother’s business.

“I’m so proud of her I could pop,” Green said of Wadsworth, her only child. “She is so passionate and dedicated and efficient and effective. She’s just very, very driven for her business to succeed, and I’m with her 100 percent!”

I tried the REWiginal and the sweet potato waffles. And, shhh! ... I went back, too. Yep, delectable waffles, dressed with honey or syrup – or completely naked.

Green’s warmth – and that almighty subliminal lure of warm waffles – stopped dozens of folks last week.

“When I tasted it, I thought, ‘That’s dessert!’ ” said Jayni Blasingame, a Wake County school teacher.

Blasingame’s mom, Linda, who was visiting from Wilmington, was thinking of her empty nest.

“I don’t do a lot of cooking now,” she said. “It’s very appealing to me because she’s done all the work.”