It was love at First Bite

The never-ending debate between pancakes and waffles is over–the Croffle has officially taken the crown.

What is a croffle, you ask? Just what it sounds like–put a croissant and waffle together, and you’ve got a croffle!

First Bite owners Elias and Abdallah have been friends for ten years and always dreamed of starting their own business. In June of 2020, they were preparing to open a donut shop, but there was a problem: everything came to a halt because their store had been without electricity for three months. Rather than throwing in the towel, they looked back to a year earlier when, while travelling through Asia in 2019, they had their first bite of a croffle. The three months that nearly ended their donut business turned into a taste-testing frenzy. After experimenting with a multitude of different toppings, they turned their donut business into Ottawa’s first croffle Shop.

First Bite is more than a business to Elias and Abdallah, it’s a passion project. Elias told us, “It’s okay to fail. If you’re not going to try it now, then when?”

But the launch of First Bite is far from failing; their opening day attracted a lineup down the street. They’ve been featured on CTV, CBC, and Narcity–all of Ottawa is raving about how they fell in love at first bite.

ABOVE: Elias and Abdallah are the owners of First Bite, Ottawa’s first croffle shop!

One month in and Elias and Abdallah already have plans for the future of the shop. Soon, a drinks menu will be opening, adding to their current choice of drip coffee. The delicious croissant base has the potential for being more than just sweet, so keep your eyes open for their savoury croffle launch too. You might even see some First Bite pop-ups along the Rideau canal and at Ottawa’s universities in the coming months.

Not only is this new scrumptious dessert aesthetically appealing, the First Bite shop also features bright pink walls and a beautiful photo wall of pink roses, perfect for foodie pics to post on the gram. But it’s more than just the aesthetics, Elias told me. “It’s fun. We enjoy it. It used to be a jewellery shop, but now we’ve made a spot for people to sit, enjoy, and take photos. We get to see people’s faces light up.”

With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Robotics, Elias has poured his skills into engineering the perfect treat. On the menu now is the Strawberry with whip, the Biscoff with whip, the Oreo with whip, or the Nutella. But who knows, Elias said, “we’re always experimenting.”

When I asked Elias what his favourite combination was, he didn’t hesitate. “To be honest,” he said with a smile, “they’re all my children.”

While you’re there, ask for the secret menu! The Joseph is the best pick–but I’ll let you find out exactly what that is.

Open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., but Elias told Ottawa Life that weekdays are the best time to come if you want to try something unique. First Bite also caters, so you can bring these aesthetically pleasing delights to your wedding, event, or party, and it’s sure to be a hit.

While you’re in ByWard Market, be sure to stop at First Bite. It’s a heavenly experience when you try it for the first time, and your tastebuds will thank you! Go to Ottawa Life’s TikTok page to see our reaction to our first croffle.

“What’s been your favourite part about bringing the first croffle to Ottawa?” I asked Abdallah.

“It’s their reaction–you see it in their eyes that it’s love at first bite.”

Photos: Tatum Bergen