IHOP and Denny's should step aside because pancakes do not nearly stand a chance against the amazing and delicious belgian waffles found at Zinneken’s in Harvard Square. Zinneken's is a fairly new Belgian-waffle cafe and bakery on the corner of Mass Ave and Arrow St. in Harvard Square. Known for their soft middle, crunchy outside, Zinneken’s tops their waffles with all the sweet and delicious goodness you could ask for. Our mouths are watering just thinking about them!
Co-founders Nhon Ma and Bertrand Lempkowicz, founded Zinneken's on a very simple idea; introduce authentic Belgian-style waffles to America. Bertrand and Nhon are two buddies who met in high schoolwhile growing up in Belgium. They both grew up, like any other Belgians, ordering waffles from street vendors. Fiteen years later, they found themselves chatting at a high school reunion and shared their entrepreneurial ideas. One of these ideas was to introduce Belgian waffles to the United States, which they accomplished when opening Zinneken's to Cambridge.
So you may be wondering what exactly is a belgian waffle? We decided to answer that question first-hand with an interview with Nhon Ma, and of cours, by tasting of the great waffles. Nhon told me, “The idea of Belgian waffles "as-is" doesn't exist because there is quite an extensive choice of waffles in Belgium such as butter waffles, fruit waffles, and hart waffles. The most popular waffles in Belgium are the Brussels waffles [light and crispy] and the Liège waffle [dense and sweet]. What we offer at Zinneken's is the Liège-style waffle which is really the true star in Belgium and is also the most difficult waffle to produce abroad as some ingredients need to be imported straight from Belgium such as pearl sugar”. Belgian-style waffles differ from American waffles because the American waffle are made out of a batter, while the waffles at Zinneken's are crafted from a handmade yeast dough.
That dough turns into a waffle that is baked right in front of you and then topped with your choice of our delectable topping offerings. From fresh strawberries to imported Belgian chocolate, everything is high quality and delicious. We tasted a waffle called the “Oreo Freaking Party” and yes, it did taste just as good as it sounds! The “OFP” is a handmade Belgian waffle that is topped with Oreos, raspberries and whipped cream. According to Nhan, they named it the OFP because putting a lot of Oreos on top of the waffle because it wouldn't be a party otherwise!”
Beyond waffles, Zinneken's has become a destination for waffle lovers everywhere! Customers come from far and near to taste these scrumptious waffles, and after our visit, we think you should, too :).
Written by Michelle Goldberg