Batter Up Waffle Company opened its doors at Lakeside Mall just five short weeks before the COVID-19 shut down kicked in. Owner Kevin Browe couldn't believe it.
The new 900-square-feet premises in Sterling Heights is an extension of Browe's food truck business, a popular presence at markets and festivals. With brand new equipment and three full-time employees, it was not a minor decision for the business owner to open a fixed store front.
"We opened a permanent location to allow our guests to have our food all the time, but also to breathe new life into the food court area, and be used as a commissary kitchen to prepare for our larger food truck events," said Browe.
"A brick-and-mortar location has shown a vast difference for us in the opportunity to be open for our loyal patrons to have our food when the truck is not at an active event."
On the menu at the new shop is Liege-style (smaller, round-shaped) waffles with pearl sugar sourced from Belgium, as well as savory items, and "bursting" bubble teas. Despite the sweet temptations, the business faced hurdles when the pandemic hit.
"We were barely operational before the shut-down," said Browe. "Financially, as other businesses have felt, we took a huge hit on income, and the overwhelming expense hit us hard."
He is grateful for the support of what he describes as a "tight-knit" community, and was excited to reopen recently at the Lakeside Circle location.
"We chose Lakeside Mall after meeting with the leasing team and seeing that they shared in our vision," said Browe. "We are very happy that new things are coming to the mall, and we feel it was the right place."
"I hope people see, if safe, to return to the shopping centers," he said.
Batter Up is one of several new developments at Lakeside Mall, which was purchased by Out of the Box Ventures, a subsidiary of Florida-based Lionheart Capital, for $26.5 million in December. Long-term goals for the site, which is the largest mall in Michigan at over 1.5 million square feet of retail space, include a mixed-use plan