The Wafel Shop
by Sally Mitani
The Wafel Shop opened on February 4, selling not only the cooked-to-order Belgian (here more specifically designated "Brussels") waffle we're all familiar with, but another kind called the "Liege" waffle. "It's the kind they don't export," says Noah Goldsmith, co-owner, who is often behind the counter himself. The Liege waffle (wafel is the Belgian spelling) comes from the French part of Belgium. Before they're pressed into a waffle iron, they look like scoops of cookie dough, and they taste like a cross between a cookie and a waffle.
Goldsmith, thirty-two, who studied abroad in the Netherlands (Belgium's neighbor with a less interesting waffle portfolio), has also introduced a wicked-good condiment called Biscoff to downtown dining. Biscoff is the trade name of one of Belgium's most popular cookies--it's the rich, cinnamony cookie served on Delta flights. Luckily for waffles, Biscoff also comes in spreadable form. It's made from ground-up cookies and tastes like cookie-flavored buttercream frosting. If you're unsure whether you want this as a waffle topping, you can sample a tiny spoonful.
It's a simple shop. Waffles cost $5. Butter and powdered sugar are free, but most people add fruit, Biscoff, Nutella, chocolate, or even bacon, for another buck or two. (The bacon, from Biercamp, is currently the only savory topping, but some customers pair it with fruit, chocolate, and even whipped cream.) There's nothing else on the menu except coffee and a few other drinks.
Goldsmith's business partner, Tia Hoffman, says more savory toppings will eventually come. "Someone asked if we could make a chili cheese waffle, and I said, 'Uh, well, we'll put it in the suggestion box.'" Hoffman, forty-seven, used to be in the coffee business. "Our skill sets perfectly complement each other. He knows waffles, I know coffee. He's finance and IT, I'm public relations and front of the house."
Hoffman also takes credit for coining the phrase "dessert district," suddenly in use on their section of Liberty, which turns a problem into a virtue, as PR geniuses tend to do. Not only does the Wafel Shop sit next to Kilwins and across the street from the Cupcake Station, but a nearby creperie is due to open soon.
The Wafel Shop, 113 E. Liberty, 369-4734. Daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m. thewafelshop.com
[Originally published in March, 2013.]