Pierre Vandamme was born and raised in Brugge (Bruges), Belgium. In March 2004, after living in Salt Lake City for 10 years, Pierre and fellow Belgian Philippe Wyffels adapted an old family recipe for the Liège waffle and started a waffle business selling waffles on Main Street in Salt Lake City from a vending cart. The same year they operated the cart at the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmers Market and some local summer events.
It didn’t take long for ‘Utahns’ and the local media to fall for the charms of these Belgian waffle artists. Or was it the aromas of melting butter and caramelizing sugar that were so enchanting? Either way, they were ambitious and soon added Belgian style fries ‘frites’ to the menu. It was a big hit!
Thanks to the many loyal fans and admiring articles in the press, Pierre was soon able to open a year-round operation, a small but charming ‘hole in the wall’ across from the farmers market on Broadway. Its tiny interior, sidewalk patio and Belgian attributes evoke the old world ambiance as soon as you set foot inside. Along with a real kitchen came a new product: the Machine Gun Sandwich®, featured on Man v. Food.
Bruges Waffles and Frites became so successful that in 2010 Pierre enticed Frederic, his brother in law, and his family to relocate from Belgium to Utah to join him.
The summer of 2012 was an exciting period for Bruges Waffles and Frites. They opened a second year round restaurant with more indoor seating in the charming Sugar House neighborhood.
When winter comes we all crave warm and comfy food, so in September 2013 Pierre decided to add Waffle Sandwiches and Omelettes to the Sugar House menu.
Bruges On the Gau-fre. The beginning of 2014 turned another page in Bruges’ history. Bruges began bringing fresh, artisan-made waffles to you with the Bruges Waffle Bus.
October 2014 marked the opening of a charming Bruges location on 42 West Center Street, right in the middle of the historic Provo Town Square.
Conquering the World? We’re not quite there yet, but since the summer of 2014 we have been working very hard behind the scenes to prepare for expansion outside of Utah. In April 2015 we officially launched Bruges Franchising, which allows us to offer our unique food concept as a franchise opportunity in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon. Pierre & Frederic will continue their own story here in their beloved Utah and will also be closely involved in this new franchising project.
In the meantime, Bruges Waffles & Frites is also building their 4th brick and mortar location in Draper on 500 East and 12300 South. Watch for the opening later this summer.
History of Liège Waffles
According to legend, the Prince of Liège’s cook invented the Liège waffle in the 18th century. At the Prince’s request, he experimented with cooking a kind of bun by adding polished sugar to the dough. Seduced by the appetising aroma of vanilla that emanated during the cooking, the Prince fell for the charm of this new cake. He was not the only one and the waffle rapidly became very popular in the Liège region and throughout Belgium.
Today it is known as the Liège waffle and continues to seduce generations of food-lovers!
History of the Belgian Frites
Potatoes have been fried since 1680 in Belgium, back then part of the Spanish Netherlands, in the area of “the Meuse Valley” between Dinant and Liège. The poor inhabitants of this region used to eat small fried fish. When the river froze up and they were unable to fish, they cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to substitute.
In 1857, a Belgian entrepreneur called Fritz (assumed pun with ‘frites’) was featured in a local newspaper for selling fries at fairs. People back then called him “le roi des pommes de terre frites” (The king of fried potatoes).
In Antwerp, a stall selling fried potatoes called “Max en Fritz” was established in 1862.
As for the name “French fries”, it is alleged to come from either the Irish verb “to french”, meaning “to cut”, or from the American allies who, after landing in the Belgian Ardennes, tried our tasty fried potatoes and called them “French fries”. French for the native language talked in the region and fries for how they were cooked. Either way, fries are definitely Belgian!
Comics in Belgium
Besides its delicious cuisine, Belgium is also notorious for its comics, called cartoons.
As one of the few arts where Belgium has had an international and enduring impact in the 20th Century, comics are known to be “an integral part of Belgian Culture”. Belgian comics played a mayor role in the development of European comics with Brussels being the Comics Capital.
With more than 700 comic strip authors, Belgium has more comic artists per square kilometer than any other country in the world! Nowhere else are comics so strongly rooted in reality and in people’s imagination.
The most famous characters are the reporter Tintin, the cowboy Lucky Luke and his enemies the Dalton brothers, Asterix & Obelix, XIII, Largo Winch and the cheerful Smurfs. Did you know that even the members of our royal family have cartoon alter egos?
In our stores, you can find some of these comic books to read at your leisure: from the adventures of Asterix & Obelix over those of a young Indian boy called Yakari to even a comic on Bruges’ rich history.
True to this legacy, Bruges Waffles & Frites felt the urge to give in to its own comic fantasy by turning some of its most popular items into cartoons: