Bruges owner Pierre Van Damme sits on the patio outside his tiny brick-faced shop—slightly reminiscent of a Flanders cafe—and discusses “fresh” over a waffle smeared in strawberries and Speculoos (a Belgian graham cracker-like cookie turned into a spread). “It’s just not good there anymore,” says Van Damme of frite shops and waffle trucks in beautiful, historic Bruges, where he’s from. “Everything’s frozen: the waffle dough and the frite potatoes.”
In Belgium, waffles are typically cooked in batches to sit on shelves until re-warmed on demand. They’re served plain but sugared occasionally with cinnamon; generally only tourists eat strawberry-and-whipped-cream-covered ones. Not here, though. As Van Damme plops a spoonful of fresh dough on the griddle, his crew busily peels and double-fries potatoes—the secret to crispy, less-greasy frites—which are served in pointy cone bags. “The food is how we’d make it at home, and it’s just fun. When I stop having fun, I’ll quit,” Van Damme says.
While Belgian classics like cherry kriek-cooked rabbit or mussels aren’t served here, the Machine Gun sandwich—a frite-covered sausage on baguette, common to French-speaking Belgium—hits the spot. As in typical frite shops, there’s a bevy of mayonnaise-based sauces to choose from, including the house garlic aioli, green sauce, mammouth and a curry ketchup, among others. And, of course, the beer-based Flemish beef stew—Carbonnade—can bring out the Belgian in anyone.?
BRUGES WAFFLES & FRITES
336 W. Broadway