Bel 50, the newest concept in fast-casual dining, opens its doors today. The intimate sandwich shop doesn't focus on sandwiches piled high on artisan bread, but rather sweet and savory concoctions served on Belgian-style waffles. While it may seem a little out of the ordinary, it is. And even more intriguing is that each waffle only has 220 calories, 27 grams of carbs and four grams of sugar. That is, of course, before the ingredients are added.
The River North shop, designed by Norr Limited, features low communal tables with low leather-covered cube seats and other wooden tables with metal seating as well as banquettes with leather-covered padding. One wall features an eclectic patchwork mural of Belgian scenescapes and tubular pendants hang from the ceiling.
Bel 50, named for a blend of Belgium and that the country sits on the 50th parallel, is the brainchild of former hedge fund guy Tim Jandovitz who partnered with chef Joey Altman. The menu features savory (burrata, fresh basil, EVOO; wild mushroom and fontina; prosciutto, brie, fig jam and caramelized onion) and sweet (creme brulee and berries; s'mores; banana nutella) waffles. It serves breakfast all day with items like cheesy eggs, Virginia baked ham and egg; and organic baked apple compote. Bel 50 has salads, too. And yes, you can even get various Belgian beers on tap or a glass of vino.
The restaurant opened this morning. This week Bel 50 is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but closed on Thanksgiving. Starting Nov. 26, regular hours kick in: weekdays 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
· Bel 50 [website]