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Posted on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Wafel Shop redux: Owner signs lease for new space in downtown Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs

It took seven months, a Kickstarter campaign and a lot of time and energy, but Noah Goldsmith found a new — and more visible — location for his Belgian waffle restaurant.

Goldsmith signed a lease last week for the former Cafe Japon space at 113 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor.

“I was really sad to hear Cafe Japon was going out of business because (Miyoko Honma) was a fabulous pastry chef,” Goldsmith said.

“But it’s a fabulous space for us and we’re very excited.”


Noah Goldsmith plans to open Wafel Shop at 113 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor in December.

Lizzy Alfs |

Goldsmith, who grew up in Ann Arbor and attended Community High School, announced in February that he was opening Wafel Shop on Ann Arbor’s South Fourth Avenue. But after realizing the building’s electrical capacity would not meet the restaurant’s needs, Goldsmith had to cancel those plans.

“It was tough losing that last space,” he said. “You can always recoup money, but time and energy was lost…it was hard.”

Goldsmith then launched a campaign on the online funding platform Kickstarter, raising $3,000 to purchase waffle irons. But more importantly, the campaign raised awareness for the Wafel Shop and got the Ann Arbor community involved as Goldsmith searched for a new location.

“Really, what we wanted to use Kickstarter for was awareness and get people excited and let people feel like they had a stake in a small business opening up,” he said.

Goldsmith also landed a new business partner, Tia Hoffman, who has operated several cafes and a coffee roasting shop.

The concept for Wafel Shop hasn’t changed since February; the restaurant will serve two different types of Belgian waffles with an extensive selection of toppings. The Brussels waffle has a fluffy interior and crispy exterior, and the Liege waffle is a dense, sweet waffle with chunks of pearl sugar on the inside.

There will be an array of waffle toppings, from dulce de leche to ginger cookie spread and locally sourced fruits. There also will be juices and coffee.

The restaurant’s tentative hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., but Goldsmith said that could change based on customer demands.

“If we want to expand the offerings, we certainly have the ability to do that,” he said. “We’ll start out with the plan we’ve been working on and see where the customers kind of guide us.”

Preliminary construction work started on the 1,400-square-foot space Tuesday and Goldsmith is aiming for a December opening. Managed by Ann Arbor-based Oxford Companies, the space was listed for lease for an annual $28 per square foot with Colliers International Ann Arbor.

Just a block east on Liberty Street, Royal Oak-based What Crepe? announced plans in September to open in the former Squares restaurant space. Together, Goldsmith said the restaurants are creating a “dessert district” in the Liberty Street corridor.

“We’re glad more businesses are coming into downtown Ann Arbor,” he said. “I think it’s going to make Liberty Street a dessert district and we’re excited about that.”

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

it will last as long as people patronize it


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.


rusty shackelford

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

Good to see something somewhat fresh for the A2 market. And we need more brunch places, as evidenced by the epic waits at any place decent.

Dave Koziol

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

Mr Goldsmith, please consider adding some additional breakfast protein options. Our downtown office crew will visit more often if you do. Either way, we've been looking forward to your opening since we first read about it.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

Best of luck, Mr. Goldsmith. Can't wait to visit your shop. Please ignore these Cranky McCrankersons on here. Go make your dream happen.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

Good to know that a new food place is replacing an old food place. I'd hate to see food places in this city fall below some "critical mass."


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 3:15 a.m.

A waffle shop?And he cant spell.In downtown yet where no one will go to breakfast on weekends.Really?Well I think he's wasted more of his time and energy.Its hard for me to believe this can succeed.But good luck


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

Are you sure you are a townie?


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

That's the Belgian (specifically Flemish) spelling of "waffle". He can spell fine, it just isn't in English.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 4:57 a.m.

yeah because the Fleetwood, Broken Egg, Cloverleaf, Aut Bar, Afternoon Delight NEVER have any business on weekends. I mean they are so silly to stay open those days. I guess when they quote wait times of 30-45 minutes on most weekends, it is because nobody comes there.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Yay! Looking forward to trying the Wafel Shop!


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

Stupid Hick

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

"Really, what we wanted to use Kickstarter for was awareness and get people excited and let people feel like they had a stake in a small business opening up" I am so sorry to read this. When I read about private business owners using Kickstarter to beg for donations on the internet, rather than seek local partners or investors, I lose respect for them.

Stupid Hick

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

OK Kyle. I will bite my lip and await the next story lauding a business for misusing Kickstarter.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

Hi all- There are some interesting points to consider regarding the explosive growth of Kickstarter and how it is being used by entrepreneurs. Most recently the discussion regarding if refunds should be issued when projects fail to launch made headlines. Let's table this discussion for now and we'll consider it as a larger upcoming story where we can discuss more in depth.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 4:54 a.m.

So I guess you never use Google (since they begged for tax breaks to open in A2). I guess you think negatively of the Detroit Tigers who begged for a stadium funded by everybody's tax dollars. Instead a PRIVATE business asked other PRIVATE citizens if they would donate to their business. Nobody was coerced, or forced into anything, unlike when the people of A2 were forced to fund Pfizer. I am sure if there is an investor who wants to give the right amount of money to a business, they are free to contact Mr Goldstein, but investing in a business also can make you liable for many things that a donation will not, including tax ramifications.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 2:41 a.m.

In practice, these days a successful Kickstarter campaign is more like a way to pre-order stuff than to donate. All of the businesses below (except maybe Beet Box, I didn't see theirs) gave contributors future stuff in exchange for their "donations" -- meals, coking classes, jars of pickles, etc.

Stupid Hick

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

Hey, feel free to give money to whomever you want. But I'm offended when private, for-profit, businesses beg for donations to finance private, for-profit, business opportunities. Kickstarter is supposed to be "a funding platform for creative projects", not a begging platform for a business owner who wants to make more money, by begging for someone to donate capital for equipment and supplies.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

You get rewards for contributing. I'm not sure what your issue is with restaurants doing this.

Stupid Hick

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

No, Seldon, they pull in donors, not investors, and I used to have a favorable impression of Beet Box, Buona Sera, and Ann Arbor Brinery, before their ill-considered Kickstarter campaigns. Beggars!


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Good name you picked, because Kickstarter campaigns for restaurants pull in lots of local investors.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

The location on E.Liberty can be a hit or miss...however, if you get a decent should be fine. I'll be curious as to what hours will be kept. Since I don't live or work in the downtown area, I won't be venturing there until after work hours or early morning (ie. 7am-8am). I would suggest adding some type of protein to the menu possibly as a topping or side. Can't wait to try both the Wafel Shop and What Crepe?!!! Wish both business ventures the best of luck!


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

I could see something involving Greek yogurt and/or toasted nuts (esp. pecans) would work well.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

Good idea on the protein! Then I can make it a meal.

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Looking forward to reviewing this! Wishing the owners the best of luck with this exciting new offering for Ann Arbor.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:45 p.m. Commence with your advice. Is this a good location? How about the hours? Should he be serving bacon, eggs, sandwiches, soups? Is the shop name confusing?


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Is it really that hard to connect the dots that The Wafel shop will sell waffles?