Waffling around

. June 28, 2013.
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“We're going to get waffles (or in German -waffels),” I told my family on a sunny Sunday morning. The Wafel Shop opened in February on Liberty Street. It is a casual counter-service restaurant serving two types of Belgian waffles and quality drinks, including its own coffee blend customized by Zingerman's. Because the waffle is considered street food in Belgium, the Wafel Shop doesn't just cater to the morning crowd. It serves freshly made waffles morning, noon, and night.

Pick your wafel
First, choose from two kinds of waffles. The Liège waffle is dense and chewy, with chunks of Belgian pearl sugar and a hint of cinnamon. The Brussels waffle has a crispy exterior and light, fluffy interior, similar to the waffles served in American diners. Both cost $5. A gluten-free waffle is available for $2 more and the restaurant is developing vegan and dairy-free versions.
 

Build your wafel
Next, select one of the restaurant's signature creations, such as The Belgian Elvis with bacon, Biscoff, a sweet, creamy spread made with Biscoff cookies, and banana. Or create your own with locally sourced fruits, nuts, and other toppings. Butter, powdered sugar, chocolate shavings and syrup are free. Fruits like blueberries cost $1 more; strawberries and raspberries add $2. There are sweet toppings like chocolate chips, spreads like Nutella, and savory items like aged cheddar (each add $1).

My 9-year-old chose The Graaf on a Liège waffle; it came with chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings, and whipped cream ($7). My 6-year-old selected The Flanders on a Brussels waffle, boasting strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and whipped cream ($11). I decided to try The Jarvis with bacon, butter, pecans, and powdered sugar on a Liège waffle ($9). My husband chose The Lumberjack—bacon and Michigan Maple syrup—on a Brussels waffle ($8).

 By the time we added drinks, our bill was well over $40. This seemed high for waffles, but I reminded myself we were dining downtown. Next time I could encourage everyone to drink the complimentary water, rather than ordering separate  drinks.

Eat your wafel
I liked my thick, chewy Liège waffle covered in substantial, flavorful bacon. The pecans added a nice crunch. I would add syrup as I found The Jarvis a tad dry. My husband's Lumberjack  looked simple, with thick bacon and a serving of syrup, but offered an appetizing sweet and savory combination.

“Mom, can we get some gelato?” my 9-year-old piped up.

“You just inhaled a waffle covered in chocolate and whipped cream!” I replied, and while I nixed dessert at 10am, the kind staff offered my kids some samples of chocolate and vanilla gelato. The tasty gelato, made by Zingerman's,
quickly disappeared.

The Wafel Shop is located just east of Main on Liberty. Look for the cheerful orange signs and let your nose guide you to the smell of yummy Belgian waffles.

Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.