Ron Dupen and his business partner John Power are building a mini waffle empire, capitalizing on the sweet or savory Belgian street food that, says Dupen, an Australian, is as American as apple pie. In mid-May, on the corner of Seventeenth Avenue and Lafayette, in Uptown, the two partners will open Waffle Brothers Pub Style, the third - and largest - of the Waffle Brothers stores, the first of which opened two years ago in Alamo Placita; a second, smaller outpost opened last year on the Hill, in Boulder.
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But while neither of those restaurants has a liquor license, the newest Waffle Brothers will pour beer and wine from the century-old, two-story Victorian that was formerly occupied by Tree Haus Bistro. "When we first found out that the building already had a wine and beer license, we were definitely interested - beer and sweet waffles are incredibly awesome -- and when we drove by and saw the huge patio, we immediately fell in love with it," says Dupen, who has plans to take full advantage of the courtyard, turning it into a bona fide beer garden scattered with reclaimed beetle kill pine picnic tables and wrought iron rounds.
The 1,700 square foot interior, which includes a downstairs dining room, bar with seating and an open kitchen, along with four rooms upstairs, two of which are designated dining areas, while the other two will be lounging pads strewn with sofas, cushy chairs and coffee tables, appealed to them, too. "When we walked inside, it had a happy feel and good karma - it was obvious that the previous owners loved it and took good care of it," notes Dupen, who intends to do the same, leaving the upstairs rooms largely untouched save for brushing the walls with vibrant colors. They'll paint the exterior red, blue and the color of "a traditional waffle" and hang flags from Colorado, Ireland (Power is from there), Australia and Belgium, adds Dupen.
Along with an expanded space, Dupen and Power will also extend their hours at this location, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. And while they'll serve a similar menu to the other Waffle Brothers -- a collection of breakfast dishes, most of which incorporate waffles, along with sandwiches and salads - Dupen says that dinner will proffer the biggest changes, including the introduction of waffle burgers, fried chicken and waffles, chicken wings paired with housemade sauces and Australian meat pies." We've wanted to do chicken and waffles from day one, but we didn't have the space. The kitchen here will allow us to do that, and I've got a fantastic secret family recipe that uses buttermilk - that's all I can say," teases Dupen.
Once this Waffle Brothers opens, Dupen reveals that he and Power will began franchising into other states, including Iowa and Nebraska. "We've got a great little concept that people love, and we want to grow, both in Colorado and across the country" says Dupen.
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