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Food truck becomes hopping sit-down restaurant

Zoe Greszler • May 1, 2018 at 2:00 AM

GREENWICH — Most area residents recognize the tall pyramid-like waffle that comes served on a stick as the one and only Belgian Waffle-on-a-Stick served from the food trailer by the same name. The food truck is among the more popular options at the local fairs and festivals, but unfortunately, like most food trucks, closes up when winter comes. 

As of Thursday though, those famous waffles can be bought year round from Greenwich’s newest restaurant, Oma’s Belgian Wafflehouse and Cafe at 9 Main St., Greenwich. It’s nothing but the best from owners Ron and Maria Upton though, which means using the original Belgian recipe Maria learned when she was young.

Upton said she was born in Spain, but moved to Belgium with her parents when she was 3, where she lived for about 33 years. She moved to the U.S. about 31 years ago, bringing along some of her favorite recipes.

“These are actually authentic Belgian waffles,” she said. “It’s the recipe I’ve had since I was going to school, so a really long time ago. That’s the vanilla waffle. The other flavors, like the cinnamon, the lemon, crunch, the pumpkin spice, almond cranberry — those are my creations that I made up. So if you want one of those, this is the only place you’re going to get them.”

Belgian waffles are different from what you might receive when ordering a traditional waffle for breakfast.

“If they want a real, Belgium waffle this is probably the place they can get it. Most places you go, they have waffles, but they make a breakfast waffle,” Upton said. “These are more of a dessert waffle. They’re sweet. They’re different from traditional waffles. ... They’re good, really good.”

It was a change in circumstances that created the delicious breakfast-on-a-stick option though.

“My husband started the Belgian Waffle-on-a-Stick four years ago,” Upton said.

“He was laid off and he said this is what I’m going to do. We went to Belgium with my brother and we were just checking places out when we found this waffle iron with a stick. He said ‘That’s something to take back to the states,’ and he did.

“He sold a lot of them and we still sell a lot of them, especially to the kids. And actually even for adults. It’s easy, you can hold it and you can eat it even while you’re driving.”

The restaurant, which also offers a full to-go menu, is the sit-down version of the food truck after the Uptons decided to make the official transition and fulfill a dream she’s had for years — owning her own coffee shop. 

Upton said she’d thought of opening one several times before bit said there was always “a little fear” of the change if she was to quit her job and start something new. 

“You get into a routine and you get used to your routine,” she said. “But I retired last year and I realized I can’t just sit down and do nothing. My husband was still working the trailer and I thought you know what, what about a coffee shop that we can both work at together.”

And so it was. The food truck closed and the restaurant held its grand opening and ribbon cutting Thursday and ushered around a full house most of the day, with nearly every seat filled as others came in to order to-go food and coffee. 

A few hours into the grand opening Upton said was happy with how things were going and hoped and planned for them to continue to go well, especially in the summer months when the business will offer out-door seating as well. 

“That should truly make it nice,” she said. “People in Greenwich, you know there’s not a whole lot here, so they can at least enjoy the summer in the outside with their coffee. We have specialty coffees — hot and cold.”

In addition to the Belgian waffles, macchiatos, lattes, cappuccinos, frozen coffees, boba drinks, and other specialties, the restaurant offers a wide range of breakfast and lunch options. One popular item is the Big R — a bagel sandwich with two eggs, two slices of cheese, bacon, sausage and hash browns. They serve sweet and savory crepes, pancakes and stuffed french toasts. 

On the lunch menu, 1/2-pound burgers are the star, ranging in flavors from a regular to a Hawaiian burger, to a bacon, Swiss mushroom burger, along with other sandwich and panini options. 

To top it off, anything on the menu can be ordered anytime during the day.

“We have breakfast all day and lunch all day,” Upton said. “To me, a person that gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning wants to have lunch at 10, but if you get up at 9 o’clock you want breakfast at 10. We try to make everybody happy.”

David and Tiffany Lamb, of Norwalk, drove out their family of six to Greenwich just to visit Oma’s in celebration of meeting a fundraising goal they set, which will allow them to be missionaries in Papau New Guinea.

“We’ve missed it (the food) since the food truck disappeared,” David said.

“They were in Norwalk for a long time and we loved to go,” Tiffany added. “When we saw they were opening here we said ‘That’s a perfect way to celebrate.’ (Our family) ordered a vanilla waffle because it’s our favorite; David and I ordered the Big R, which is delicious and they (the kids) ordered the Opa’s breakfast to share.”

Among the food tried, all agreed the vanilla Belgian waffle was the winner.

“It’s delicious,” their six-year-old daughter Luisa said.

The family plans to visit again and bring family before they leave for missionary training in North Carolina in the coming weeks. 

“We’re excited,” Upton said of the Oma’s opening. “We’re hoping it will be even better, and I’m sure it will.”

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