Tawnya Clark and her family are big breakfast eaters, making wonderful dishes from scratch. “Special family meals always revolved around breakfast and brunch”, she says.
Tawyna started testing out new breakfast recipes when her grandmother (99-years-young) became bored with her restricted diet. Inspired by television cooking shows, Tawnya decided to see what kind of treats she could create with sweet potatoes. As she continued to cook, her family and friends kept asking for more. Eventually, they began asking her to cook for parties, and for large quantities to keep in the freezer.
The Batata Shop, a Detroit based start-up breakfast eatery and specialty bakery was born. Tawnya creates her sweet potato waffles from scratch, working out of kitchen space at Traffic Jam & Snug, where she can roast mass quantities of sweet potatoes in large commercial ovens. This past Mother’s Day, she hosted a pop-up event at TJs offering waffles and fixins.
Tawyna focuses on quality ingredients, small batches and lots of love–”yummy goodness,” says Tawnya. She also makes a pecan-cinnamon butter to serve alongside the waffles. She envisions a future of Batata products that can be sold wholesale to grocery stores and eateries. She is working on having a stand at Detroit’s Eastern Market by July. “Take a chance on something you love,” is Tawyna’s advice.
I had the pleasure of trying these out a couple weeks ago at a pop-up event at the Anthology Coffee Shop, located within Detroit’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAD). The warm sweet potato waffles with Tawnya’s pecan butter were inviting and delicious. I didn’t bother with syrup–they were already perfect as is. The sweet potatoes in the batter make these waffles ideal for either a sweet breakfast or a savory lunch– they pair well with maple syrup and some eggs, bacon or sausage, or even “chicken and waffles”!
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