The World's Best Sugar-Free Syrup

Donít act like excellent, tasty, sugar-free maple syrup isnít the hardest thing in the world for a diabetic to find Ė donít make me come over there. We all know it. Sure, Smuckers gave it the old college try, but no soap Ė theirs just isnít tasty and sweet enough. But if you are looking for a syrup to punish you for becoming a diabetic in the first place, thereís your entry. To my family Iíve become something of the ďDuncan HinesĒ or traveling evaluator of the syrup world, on a quest to find a breakfast syrup that is tolerable. Cracker Barrel almost made it but theirs was too watery and not sweet enough, turning any breakfast bread to mush. I must have tried everything. I give Caryís props for supporting the American Diabetes Association, but sadly, Iíll pass on their syrup. Thanks for trying, guys.

In my travels I tried the lot, looking high and low for the very best sugar-free syrup out there. Then on a road trip I found my holy grail in the most unexpected place, and the syrup itself turned out to be the culinary equivalent of unobtanium. Question: What eatery stays open 24 hours and can be reliably found on Interstate exits? Hmmm... Outside of the Northeast, what short-order restaurant chain is the last gasp organization that's trying to the keep the ďdinerĒ concept alive? No? OK. Who offers their hash browns Scattered, Smothered, Covered, Chunked, Diced, Peppered, Capped,Topped, or Country-style? Did that clue you in? No? Okay, what restaurant stays open in a hurricane until the building is blown down? Of course, the answer is Waffle House. Belly up to the bar, brush away the crumbs, shoo away the flies, and you can have a decent breakfast with a GREAT sugar-free syrup for reasonable prices, at any hour. Just order the citified ham and avoid all the smattering and splattering on the hash browns, fellow diabetics.

This establishment is where I discovered my secret: the very best sugar free-syrup available, bar none - just the right consistency, plenty sweet enough, 35 calories per 1/4 cup serving, no aspartame, no after-taste, virtually no vices.* When I discovered this wonder of the world while on an out-of-state trip, I immediately offered my waitress whatever they wanted for a bottle, on the spot. She called over a shift manager and they scratched their heads while looking though paperwork. ďSir, they donít list a price. What would seem reasonable to you?Ē We worked out a deal that pleased everyone and I went on my merry way with two bottles in tow. When those bottles were depleted, I dropped by a nearby Waffle House for a meal and popped the same question to my waiter. He also went to the manager for help. After a lot of whispering, the manager came over to me and said, ďIím sorry sir, I canít find a way to sell you any. Iíll have to look into it for you when the district office is open.Ē The waiter waited until the boss wasnít looking and surreptitiously slipped me a bottle. Nice tip, there!

When that bottle dried up, I went back, expecting the whole thing to be cleared up. When I arrived, a district meeting of Waffle House managers was breaking up and the district manager was there. I waited for a good moment and asked the local manager, who gravely took the question to the district manager. The DM came over to me and announced, ďI am sorry to say that we donít sell our syrup. I wish we did, but we donít.Ē She immediately re-convened the covey of managers to spread the good news. Some folks won't accept money when it walks up to them on two legs. Unobtainium.

But as I sat in my booth, downtrodden, flicking away flies, munching my waffle, and glaring sullenly at the back of the bottle of pure gold before me, my eyes fell upon the answer:

Made by T.J. Blackburn Syrup Works, Inc.

Ah-HAH! A sliver of light in an otherwise dark world! Hope for a better future! I quickly looked up "Blackburn Syrup Works" on Google and discovered that they had no web presence. But I kept doggedly at it and finally found one of those generic yellow pages sites with Ė A PHONE NUMBER. A quick call yielded no answer, but Iím not one to take "NO" for an answer. For a year, whenever I thought of it, I did another search for Blackburn and waded through the unrelated results. One day my patience was rewarded with a company profile page including another phone number. When I called that number, I reached that Mecca of the sugar-free syrup world, T.J. Blackburn, Jefferson, TX. They didnít sell their magnificence at retail but were more than glad to give me the number for the outlet store in town that does. I called this small establishment and they happily took my order. Because shipping is a little steep, I ordered six bottles for $2.99 each, and received them within four business days. Total cost, $34.21. Iím sure those of you who fancy an excellent syrup will consider that completely acceptable. And now, ladies and gentlemen, here (finally) is your ordering information:

Jefferson Images
Blackburnís Factory Outlet
108 E.Lafayette
Jefferson, TX, 75657

Bon appetite!

The holy grail - mine at last

UPDATE 03/10/2017

GREAT NEWS!!! This week my wife and I were visiting our local Waffle House again for a late-evening supper. While chatting with our waiter we mourned the fact that we have to go to such lengths to order their sugar free syrup from out of state. He looked at me a bit blankly and said, "But we CAN sell it to you. We did it yesterday." It turns out that it is possible for a Waffle House to sell the luscious breakfast delight to you but the process is a bit arcane. Here's how it works: A waiter or waitress can't sell it to you via the register. You have to come in when the manager is on duty and he or she must make a "commissary transaction" on his computer back in his office. The complete price with taxes was $2.67 per bottle. Hah! A pittance for morning joy! I hurried back to my local Waffle House on a lunch break and pounced on three bottles. The goods have returned! Kudos to Waffle House for finding a way!!!

UPDATE 08/18/2022

Well, it was a good run. Today I dropped by my local Waffle House to pick up a few bottles of the syrup. Firstly, they made me stand and wait for twenty minutes to see the manager after she was told what I wanted. Secondly, after the wait, she told me they can't sell the syrup to me. Rats!!! However, my lovely wife began searching the Internet and found that Blackburn's Sugar-Free is now available through Amazon,
HERE . It is a tad expensive, but we are in a time of inflation and the best is worth it, no?

UPDATE 11/04/2022

The fight for sugar-freedom goes on! In a brand new turn of events, while on a road trip last weekend, I dined at a Waffle House north of Richmond, Virginia. I casually asked if they would sell me their Sugar-Free syrup and they cheerfully offered to do so at a price lower than the Amazon price. I added a bottle to my stock. It appears this refusal to sell is either a local or individual manager-specific thing.

* The one vice is that you get a repeat of the taste a few hours later. That's not wholly bad. Of course, you will also find yourself carrying a bottle of this syrup into other restaurants. Embarassing, but worth it. I find that a small brown bag hides the bottle nicely. Brown-bagging syrup. Who'dathunkit?