What’s new in Uptown Waterloo
The first of the franchise to be opened in North America, Ausanda Chocolate Café looks to provide a unique twist on the typical café experience. It offers over twenty flavours of deluxe hot chocolate, including coconut, tiramisu, hazelnut and torroncino (“honey, almonds and nougat”).
Co-owner Minal Patel commented, “It’s different, right? Everybody has a coffee shop.” Mayank Patel, also a co-owner, added, “Nobody offers the kind of hot chocolate we are offering right now.”
What differentiates their hot chocolate from nearby options such as Tim Hortons and Williams, and will hopefully attract a broad base of clientele, claims Mayank Patel, is quality.
The drinks are made with milk and all-natural cocoa powder, which they believe is also a healthier alternative.
Word of mouth has provided Ausanda Chocolate with some early success, with return customers a common occurrence. “So far we have got a very good, overwhelming response,” he commented. Whoever comes for the first time … they come back, they like the quality.”
Although the primary focus of the business will be on students, the owners were also attracted to the location due to the potential clientele from nearby RIM, Manulife and Sunlife offices. Minal Patel acknowledged, “When the students are not here, we need the residential stuff, and the offices too.”
Located on King Street, between University Avenue and Hickory Street, Ausanda Chocolate is in a convenient location for Laurier students willing to venture a couple minutes walk past Starbucks. Mayank Patel concluded, “We would like them to try once, and they will see the difference they are getting here.”
German Baked Specialties
Baked goods from northern Germany have found themselves a home in Uptown Waterloo.
Elke and Marek Narloch — previously denizens of Germany – opened German Baked Specialties this November at 92 King Street South. Elke related her own experiences with baking in her hometown in Germany.
“Where I lived in Germany,” explained Elke. “There were 3000 people and five bakeries. We came here and noticed that everyone bought their breads from the supermarket. So, we decided to bring our bread here.”
German Baked Specialties ships their products directly from Germany and bakes them on site. The bakery not only offers a wide variety of breads; it also offers an assortment of pastries, cakes and sandwiches.
Elke was a nurse for 25 years before deciding to get into baking. She believes that her past in the health industry has a great influence on her business.
“So many people only eat wheat flour instead of whole grain flower but then there are no good fats and minerals in the grain,” she said.
“I’m very interested in health food. We don’t make our sandwiches with mayonnaise, and use fresh herbs and vegetables bought locally.”
The bakery itself has a sitting area for customers.
A fireplace is present for atmosphere, with a picture of the Old World hanging above the mantle. The walls are strewn with photographs of famous buildings from Germany.
“I want to say to the students that they are all very welcome here by me,” said Elke.
“They have big brains. They need good food, and healthy food. When they want to take a trip, they should come in. I’m sure they’ll like it.”
Celebrating two weeks of business in Waterloo as of Jan. 5 is Menchie’s, a frozen yogurt store new to the area, but highly popular in countless locations across the United States and Canada.
Variety seems to be the key to differentiating this frozen yogurt experience. The store rotates over 70 flavours, from staples such as chocolate and vanilla, to other options like frozen hot chocolate and the newly created glazed donut. Sugar-free and dairy-free options are also always available. In addition, customers have over forty toppings to choose from, and a variety of sauces to drizzle on top.
While most frozen yogurt stores have set sizes which determine the price, Menchie’s allows customers to decide how much they want, as they dispense it themselves, along with toppings, and price according to weight. The frozen yogurt can come in either cups or waffle bowls. Manager Jamie Gilliland explained, “A lot of other places, they dispense it for you, and here we leave that experience up to the customer.”
Although the time of opening may be unconventional for a store which provides colder treats, the availability of such a central location made it impossible to pass up. “The student population around this area is definitely what drew his [the owner’s] attention to this location,” Gilliland said.
He added, “The positive of that is that when you open a store in off-season, it gives you lots of chances to train your staff, hire your staff, and to actually get all the systems in place so that when you do get into busy season you’re ready to roll.”
The vast majority of Menchie’s employees are Wilfrid Laurier and University of Waterloo students.
Although details have not yet been released, students can join Menchie’s to get some sweet deals on Jan. 21 and 22 for their grand opening.