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MILWAUKEE - Café Benelux, a popular Third Ward eatery, will close for renovations for 12 days, re-emerging just in time for breakfast and brunch with an updated menu.

If all goes according to plan, the Milwaukee eatery will reopen on St. Patrick's Day, Friday, March 17.

Café Benelux, which first opened in June 2011, is the latest in a series of Lowlands Group’s grand cafés to be renovated, joining the Café Hollander locations in Tosa and on the East side in receiving recent facelifts in trying to keep pace with business.

Keeping busy

“Ever since we opened our doors in the Third Ward, Café Benelux has been one of our most consistently busy cafés,” said Dan Herwig, director of brand and marketing at Lowlands Group. “Between our unique rooftop deck, the proximity to the Milwaukee Public Market, and everything the Third Ward has to offer, we have seen an amazing amount of traffic over the past few years.”

Planned updates include floor refinishing, expanding seating into a new dining space, updating merchandise displays, and redesigning the bar to increase the number of draught lines from 30 to 36, including a nitro line.

“We wanted to complete the work before our busy patio season starts, which we already had a little taste of in February this year,” said Herwig. “If weather cooperates we will reopen with our rooftop deck open.”

Waffling on plan

When the location reopens, the restaurant will launch an updated brunch menu, including authentic Liège waffles. Most waffles use a batter-based recipe, similar to pancake mix.

As explained by Wilhelm Borgstrom, culinary director for the Lowlands Group, Liege waffles are not made with batter, but rather with a brioche dough that is allowed to rise, just like bread. Pearl sugar is then added to the dough resulting in a sweet, rich waffle that’s faintly crunchy from the caramelized sugar embedded within.

“There are only a few places in Wisconsin to taste Liège waffles, and most of them are food trucks,” Borgstrom said. “It was important to us that we craft them as authentically as possible, so we imported special Liège waffle irons from Belgium to get the perfect amount of caramelization on the sugar.”

About Lowlands

Lowlands Group owns and operates seven Grand Cafés in Wisconsin, including Benelux Grand Café and Market, Café Bavaria, and Café Centraal, as well as four Café Hollanders located on Downer Avenue, the Village in Wauwatosa, Hilldale in Madison and Mequon Town Center.

It’s European-inspired cafés feature from-scratch cooking and an impressive selection of Belgian beers. The company prides itself in its passion for cycling, bringing neighborhoods together and giving back to the community. More information can be found at lowlandsgroup.com.

The group also operates the Lowlands Brewing Collaborative, a celebration of beer culture that brings the world’s best brewers together to create unique beers available exclusively at the Lowlands Grand Cafés. Learn more at lowlandsbrewing.com.

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