Bruxie (pronounced Brucks-ee) Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches, a fast-casual joint that got its start in Southern California, namely Olde Town Orange, is invading Denver, opening its first store outside of California in March at 1000 South Colorado Boulevard, in the same strip mall that houses Tokyo Joe's, Pinkberry, Modmarket and, until recently, Cheesesteak Connection, which will be the new site of Bruxie.
Its tagline -- "next generation sandwiches" -- represents a "light, airy version of an authentic Belgian waffle as the sandwich fold," according to founder Dean Simon. Bruxie's waffles, he adds, are "crisp, lightly yeasty, not sweet and reminiscent of freshly-baked bread."
The sandwiches, stacked with seasonal ingredients (the holiday-inspired waffles, including the Thanksgiving waffle stuffed with slow-roasted pork, apple-cranberry sauce, gravy and sausage-and-vegetable stuffing, are legendary), fresh produce and handmade sauces, include a buttermilk-fried Red Bird chicken-and-waffle with chile infused honey and cider slaw; a waffle burger with prosciutto di Parma and Gruyere; and a waffle sandwiching roasted mushrooms and Haystack Mountain goat cheese. In addition, the board includes sweet waffle sandwiches (think strawberry crème brulee, Nutella and banana, Belgian chocolate ganache s'mores and a peanut butter and jelly waffle smeared with Plum Daisy Kitchen preserves from the Western Slope). Fresh-tossed salads, old-fashioned cane sugar sodas and Wisconsin frozen custard, spun into more than a dozen of the spot's housemade shakes and floats, are also part of the lineup." I see Denver as one of the most food-centric cities in the country, and hope our chef-driven concept will achieve the same enthusiastic following we experience in Southern California," says Simon. "We believe we've created something noteworthy and hope the people of Denver will agree."
The Bruxie's concept evolved from a business trip that Simon took to Brussels, Belgium in 1999 -- an excursion that exposed him to street vendors making waffles prepared to order. In 2006, after creating a waffle recipe reminiscent of his Belgian street-food experience, "Brux Waffles" was born. Then, in 2009, Simon hired a chef named Kelly Mullarney to develop savory recipes that extended beyond the breakfast-only waffle. Later, during a trip that Kelly took to Asia, he experienced, he says, "dessert-style sweets that were offered by street-food vendors similar to what Dean encountered in Belgium." The two men put their heads together and began creating both sweet and savory waffles that they then folded to make them portable. "Bruxie, aka the 'bold fold,' was born," says Simon, noting that in French, Brussels is spelled "Bruxelles" -- and that Brux comes from the French spelling. "Belgie," he adds, is a Flemish term for Belgium and also used as a slang term for a waffle. "We combined the 'Brux' with the 'ie' from a Belgie and came up with Bruxie, and the color of the three dots represents the colors of the flag of Belgium," he notes.
Along with waffles, Bruxie will pour its own custom-crafted coffee, developed by Mullarney and made from a proprietary blend of 100 percent fair-trade beans."I really wanted to create a coffee that would complement our full flavored selection of breakfast sandwiches as well as stand alone as a rich and satisfying coffee experience," explains Mullarney.
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Bruxie will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert seven days a week. Simon and Mullarney hope to start slinging waffles in late March.