While his irons are heating up in Norfolk, a Richmond waffle shop owner is making a move to expand locally — this time into Midlothian.
Brad Barzoloski, owner of Capitol Waffle Shop in the city, is preparing to open a new waffle joint in the Shops at the Arboretum at 9101 Midlothian Turnpike. It will be his fourth waffle shop.
This month, Barzoloski opened his first shop outside of the Richmond region with Granby Waffle Shop in downtown Norfolk. His brother Brian and James Colston are his business partners in the Norfolk venture.
With both sweet and savory waffle options on its menu, all priced between about $9 and $11, Barzoloski said Capitol Waffle did pretty well last year during the pandemic — particularly after it made some adjustments.
“We had to switch up our waffle batter to make it a little more dense for takeout,” he said.
“People were like, ‘Oh my waffle’s good but it came out a little soggy.’ We had to do everything from changing our to-go containers to something that wouldn’t sweat as much, to how long we cooked it for.”
It was during the early days of the pandemic that Barzoloski began planning the Norfolk location. He said there are some similarities between that location and his Capitol Waffle location on East Main Street downtown.
“One thing we’re fond of (about the Main Street location) is you can walk to the Capitol, the river and there are plenty of hotels and businesses nearby,” Barzoloski said.
“(In Norfolk) we’re about a block away from the Norfolk City Hall and we’re attached to a Hilton Hotel. We’re also right by Waterside where they hold big events. You can get your waffle on and you’ve got no problem walking it off. It’s a good little spot and has a lot of things to do.”
Once the Norfolk deal was in place, Barzoloski shifted his focus to the Richmond suburbs and recently signed a lease for a 1,300-square-foot space at the Shops at the Arboretum where North End Juice Co. operated before closing last year.
Barzoloski said it’s too soon to estimate when the Midlothian shop will open.
Prior to launching the waffle shops, Barzoloski owned the Luncheonette. It had locations in Shockoe Bottom and Northside. Both Luncheonettes closed in 2018, but he’s kept an interest in possibly bringing the concept back. However, the combination of the pandemic and the success of the waffle shops has put a Luncheonette revival on the backburner.
“COVID kind of changed a little bit of the model, so right now I think the focus is on the waffle shop brand,” Barzoloski said. “It’s just that. I’m still working on other ideas, I just want to be careful with expansion.”