You haven’t had a waffle until you’ve had one from Detroit. That’s Waffle Café Detroit, to be exact. The Black-owned business is soon set for its Grand Opening on June 1 on Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion.
“Because of my past experience with her (Kimyana Freeman) as a chef, and having sampled these waffles in the past, it made it really easy for me to get behind the idea,” said Larry Phillips, co-owner of the new business endeavor.
“Everyone that’s going to come, they are really in for a treat, and one they’re not expecting.”
The specialty sit-down restaurant located at 18685 Livernois will serve gourmet food for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A dash of delicious mixed with a handful of nostalgia and a pinch of perfection creates over 45 varieties of savory and sweet waffles with an array of fresh toppings such as the Classic Belgian Waffle, French Toast, Very Berry, Strawberry Cheesecake, Everything but the Bagel, Candied Caramel Pecan, Loaded Baked Potato, Buffalo Chicken, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Mint Chocolate Chip with Andes mints and so much more.
Kid friendly flavors include Pepperoni Pizza, Zuperman and Fruity Pebbles. There will be something for everyone’s taste buds, no matter their age.
Kimyana Freeman and Larry Phillips are partners in K&L Legacy Enterprise, the parent company of Waffle Café Detroit. Freeman and Phillips have almost 40 years of combined experience with events, food service, community building and entertainment. Their collaboration is a culmination of friendship, mutual respect and common goals.
“We had thought about connecting on a couple other things and in the process we came across this building, and I said Hey, I think we should do this restaurant idea,” Phillips said.
Freeman’s culinary experience is massive and it’s her previous food creations that have led her to go all out in their new business endeavor and partnership with Larry, her longtime friend.
“One of the things I’ve learned from being in the industry is when you have specialty items or a location that specializes in specific things, that drives a certain demographic,” Freeman said.
As the one to come up with the array of waffle flavors, she wants to definitely tap into the clientele that loves their waffles just as much as those who love their pancakes.
“Visually picture a taco or burrito but the base of it is a flavored waffle.”
It will be one of their mainstay items as the plans include introducing waffle wraps.
Featuring locally sourced ingredients, the menu has signature and traditional items with a twist such as the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Waffle Burrito and Watermelon Lemonade. Chicken bites and catfish bites are available to pair with the waffles or come à la carte. Hand-dipped ice cream and creamy custard are also available year round, while seasonal selections during the colder months include waffle bowls filled with soup. Waffle Café Detroit will also offer an exclusive selection of beverages including hot and iced coffee as well as vegan and vegetarian waffle options.
“Our mission is to provide amazing food with friendly service in a relaxing environment,” says native Detroiter Freeman. “Waffle Café Detroit is not just a place to grab a bite to eat, it’s a place to restore relationships, a place to create memories and a place to bring families together.”
“Keeping the customer satisfied is a priority of our business,” adds her partner, Phillips.
Both Phillips and Freeman experienced tragedies that brought them to this point. Larry’s brother died in the past year and Freeman lost a dear friend and business partner a decade ago. It has taken those 10 years for her to feel comfortable enough to engage in another business partnership following the death of her friend. Both feel like their losses are what gives them the strength to press forward with their new business endeavor.
“To fast forward ten years later and be able to have this [business partnership] and embrace it, it’s really special to me. I was hesitant about it in the beginning…but when this situation came along between me and Larry, it was a no brainer.”
With a commitment to exceptional customer service, Waffle Café Detroit will serve cuisine crafted with the highest standards.
The secret ingredient is love. Love for serving families and community, and love for supporting minority businesses. Waffle Café Detroit hopes to restore the feeling of community and help to foster a sense of togetherness in the city of Detroit.
“I love being able to help people bring their dreams, goals and aspirations to pass. This year is about taking collaborative efforts and partnerships to the next level,” said Freeman.
The grand opening ribbon cutting reception is Thursday, June 1, at 10:00 a.m., and the restaurant will officially open to serve guests from noon-6:00 p.m.