Blame the acidity of the drinks. The overwhelming sweetness of the syrup tends to amplify the acidity of coffee and juice, and that makes the drinks taste bitter.
A better choice is milk, says Millie Norton, a longtime waitress at Becky's Diner in Portland, Maine.
"It's strange. If people start off with coffee, once they get their waffles, they switch over to water or milk," she says.
At Bintliff's American Cafe, an upscale brunch restaurant in Portland, the bold and decadent choice is chocolate milk.
"It's mostly twentysomethings. A lot of the guys like that, though I see women order it, too," waitress Sarah Coggeshall said.
Prefer something hot? Try hot cocoa with whipped cream. The chocolate and the syrup will complement each other. Whipped cream is a natural topping for pancakes and waffles, anyway.
A more sophisticated pairing would be a Bellini (sparkling wine spiked with peach nectar) or a fruit smoothie made with yogurt.
"Usually when I'm eating waffles or pancakes, it's an indulgence on a weekend morning," says Sunny Anderson, the host of the Food Network's Cooking for Real .
"Some homemade fruit puree with Champagne or prosecco is the perfect match and a great way to bring fresh, seasonal fruit into the menu," she says.