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Belgian Waffles to Sweeten Harvard Square

By Kerry M. Flynn, Crimson Staff Writer

From Brussels to Cambridge—two entrepreneurs plan to bring made-to-order Belgian waffles to Harvard Square by July 1 with the opening of Zinneken’s at 1154 Mass. Ave.

Co-founders—Bertrand Lempkowicz and Nhon T. Ma—obtained a Common Victualer License after a hearing in front of the Cambridge License Commission on Tuesday. With this permit and another food service license that the men have yet to obtain, they will be able to open a restaurant that does not serve alcohol.

The bakery will serve sweet waffles, which Ma described as “fluffy” and different from American varieties. The waffles are textured with melted pearl sugar drops—one of the many ingredients Ma will import from Belgium because they are not widely available in the United States.

The waffles will feature a variety of toppings, including fruit, whipped cream, Belgian chocolate, Nutella, and imported syrup, Ma said.

In addition, the bakery will sell another, crunchier type of waffle and Belgian chocolate.

According to Ma, in Belgium, people usually eat the waffles as a take-away snack. Zinneken’s will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily.

Zinneken’s will open in the former location of Arrow Street Crepes, above Berryline at the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Arrow Street.

The restaurant will have limited seating, with around 19 seats. Ma said he believes the small space will help create a “cozy European environment.”

“We’re trying to bring a real Belgian experience. We’ll serve the waffles as they are served on the streets in Brussels,” Ma said.

Zinneken’s has joined the Harvard Square Business Association, and the founders have been searching for a location since last summer, according to business association executive director Denise A. Jillson.

“They’re doing a good job creating a very charming Belgian waffle eatery. It will serve very authentic Belgian waffles,” Jillson said.

Ma said he is excited to introduce a new restaurant to the Boston area. Originally from Belgium, Lempkowicz and Ma have been traveling back and forth from Brussels to Boston since 2004, and recently began to do market research for the restaurant.

Ma said he sees Harvard Square as a vibrant community for whom his product will be appealing.

“We’re taking a risk in bringing a new product on the market, but I think it will appeal to the students and the tourists in Harvard Square. There’s nothing like it,” he said.

—Staff writer Kerry M. Flynn can be reached at

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