I felt pretty stoked when I saw a new waffle shop was opening in downtown Ann Arbor. I’m not really sure why, because waffles are not something I think about frequently. Maybe it’s because I once saw a waffle stand on an episode of Portlandia, and questioned why Ann Arbor didn’t also have one. The Wafel Shop opened at 113 E. Liberty the first week of February in the space formerly held by Cafe Japon.
I wandered into Wafel on a whim shortly after they opened at 10am. There were already a few customers waiting for their orders. I could immediately see the staff was working at a slow, yet very deliberate pace to fill orders. There was clearly that air of confusion that accompanies most establishments during opening week. Despite the confusion, everyone was friendly, especially the man behind the cash register. Now, when I say cash register, I actually mean swanky iPad point of service. It was my first experience “finger swiping” my name for a bill. Pretty cool.
Here’s the gist. You have 2 choices for your waffle: the sweeter Liege, featuring a dense batter with pearls of sugar inside, or the Brussels, a more savory, crispy outside, fluffy inside Belgian. You then have the task of choosing toppings, which include sweets like fruit, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, or salty bacon. Each topping is a dollar, so be prepared to spend at least $8-9 for a well-dressed waffle. A naked waffle is $5. I chose the Liege to appease my sweet tooth with bananas, blackberries (obsession of the moment), and homemade whipped cream.
I waited about 10 minutes for my order, and watched while the team of 3 worked together to execute. A couple ahead of me starting making impatient comments (so unnecessary) and were visibly angered when my order came out before theirs. Understandable, but it’s opening week, deal with it!
I drove my waffle home and was concerned about how it would withstand the drive. I was pleased that it was still warm when I arrived, and absolutely delicious. Wafel is a whimsical alternative to your full-on brunch choices, or your quickie bagel and coffee. It’s not a place I’d probably visit more than once a month, but I like the unique approach for something a little outside the ordinary. With time and familiarity, I think Wafel will run a smooth, delicious eatery and I recommend it for a fun meal!
+ Wafel is something different and something luxurious for a (potentially) quick and satisfying treat. Their ingredients were fresh, and with perks like homemade whipped cream, you can’t go wrong. Friendly staff! Bright, modern decor with a slight 1950’s feel.
– If you’re in a rush, avoid Wafel for at least a month until all the kinks are worked out. Also hoping they might offer more options for toppings in the future.