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Posted on Wed, May 9, 2012 : 10:51 a.m.

Belgian waffle restaurant no longer opening in downtown Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs


Wafel Shop is no longer opening on Fourth Avenue.

Lizzy Alfs |

A Belgian waffle specialty restaurant called Wafel Shop is no longer opening on South Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor, the building owner confirmed Wednesday.

Ann Arbor native Noah Goldsmith signed a lease for the former A2 O’Hair salon space near East Liberty Street in February, and hoped to open Wafel Shop by April 1.

But after Goldsmith pulled permits and got city approval for his plans to transform the 1,040-square-foot space, he realized the building’s electrical capacity would not meet the restaurant’s needs and the cost of upgrades would be too high, said building owner Michael Yi.

“In order to upgrade the electrical capacity, it would have cost a considerable amount of money,” Yi said. “I was willing to help invest in the upgrade, but even with that they thought it’d be too expensive.

"We both thought it was best that this location was not appropriate for them.”

He added: “The space would be good for a Subway-type of thing, but not for a full restaurant unless the restaurant wants to invest in upgrading. But for (Goldsmith), it was way too much.”

Wafel Shop planned to specialize in two different types of waffles: the Brussels waffle — with a fluffy interior and crispy exterior — and the Liege waffle — a dense, sweet waffle with chunks of pearl sugar on the inside. There would be a wide array of toppings and coffee from local roasters.

The building’s listing broker, Dan Stewart of Sperry Van Ness/Stewart Commercial Group, said, in an email, it is a "very unfortunate turn of events" that the Wafel Shop will no longer be opening on Fourth Avenue. Goldsmith could not immediately be reached for comment regarding his next steps.

Since Stewart put his marketing sign back in the window less than two weeks ago, he said, he has been “flooded with inquiries.”

Yi said he expects a new tenant will sign a lease for the space next week.

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


Frustrated in A2

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 2:31 a.m.

I drive past this place on my way home from work everyday. I was really hoping I would see that newspaper come down from the windows and the sign say open. I'll be patient and wait for them to find a new location.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

I wonder if they considered using natural gas for cooking. Might not have needed an electrical up grade.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Looks like more lonely nights with my waffle iron :(

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

I'll be staying updated and looking out for their new location if and when they get one!


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Like maybe "Belgian waffle restaurant looking for new location"?


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

In the meantime, you may want to edit the headline...


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

As seldon said there is no information other than not on 4th. They posted an update to kickstarter back in april about this: "We're already on the hunt for a great new location–and we'll be using the additional time to further perfect our wafel-making skills! We're committed to delivering you a great product and experience, and will continue to stay in close contact as the Wafel Shop project develops–so as soon as we have a new home, you'll be the first to know!"


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

We would love to have you out in Manchester. Quaint town with a great need for something other than a pizza shop!


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

On one hand, there can never be enough waffles. On the other: I can console myself by bringing out the waffle iron (my first purchase of a household item after I came to Ann Arbor in 1974) and open my (real) 100 pound fire resistant safe where I keep: Aunt Dort's Super Waffle Recipe. After locking the windows, drawing the shades and bolting the door: I will then assemble / mix / secretly prepare and "bake" myself a batch of these magnificent, unequalled waffles. I CAN hold out until Mr. Goldsmith finally opens his waffle shop!! :-) You other Waffle Heathens may fend for yourselves. Na-ha-ha-ha!

say it plain

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

how mean-spirited can a person be lol! You do your avatar very very wrong...


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

What a shame. Having encountered this problem with rental buildings myself, I know how frustrating the amazing cost of installing additional electrical service can be. For a business like food service with modest margins, it could easily make the business model untenable.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I was planning my summer workouts around this place.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

A more accurate headline would be "Belgian waffle restaurant no longer opening in planned South Fourth Avenue storefront". We have no idea where he's going to put it instead. It could well open in downtown Ann Arbor.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

I would not have thought that a hair salon, with all its electrical styling tools and hair dryers, would have a lesser electrical requirement than a few waffle irons.

Rob MI

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

Just yesterday I was thinking about I know what happened


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

last I checked, not to many "subways" downtown.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

The last thing we need is another "Subway-type of thing."


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Sad news I was looking forward to this


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

In retrospect, the landlord should have seen this coming. What part of the prospective tenant's waffling came as a surprise?


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

You're banned for 100 games!


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

So the landlord is now supposed to be an electrician. Gimme a break.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.



Wed, May 9, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

let's see, will it be another smoke shop?

dirty irish

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

this makes me sad. hopefully plans for the Wafel Shop will move forward in a more suitable location.