Elk­ton wo­man opens waf­fle shop in Ne­wark

Cecil Whig - - OBITUARIES & REGIONAL - By KARIE SIM­MONS

NE­WARK, DEL. — If you thought eat­ing on Ne­wark’s Main Street was tempt­ing be­fore, Elk­ton res­i­dent Jeanne Kress just sweet­ened the deal with the sugar-crusted waf­fles she’s churn­ing out at The Per­fect Blend.

The new eatery re­cently opened at 249 E. Main St., which is also home to Quest Di­ag­nos­tics and sits across the street from the Ne­wark Shop­ping Cen­ter next to Bing’s Bak­ery.

Cus­tomers can choose from a va­ri­ety of Liège waf­fles, which are rec­tan­gu­lar and sweeter than tra­di­tional Bel­gian waf­fles due to the chunks of pearl sugar that caramelize on the out­side of the waf­fle when baked. They come in reg­u­lar and mini size and can be eaten plain or topped with ba­con, Oreos, candy, fruit, whipped cream, nuts, cho­co­late sauce, syrup, caramel, honey and or ice cream.

Kress also makes spe­cialty cof­fee from beans roasted by Pike Creek Cof­fee, as well as nitro cold-brew cof­fee and cof­fee floats with ice cream.

Upon en­ter­ing The Per­fect Blend, cus­tomers walk through what feels like a liv­ing room. There are comfy chairs scat­tered about, a couch next to a pi­ano and a fire­place wedged in the cor­ner, begging for a chilly day. It’s easy to imag­ine re­lax­ing with a warm waf­fle and cup of cof­fee be­cause it feels just like home, Kress said.

“That’s the whole point. I wanted to make it a place where peo­ple who were away from home, like stu­dents, come here and re­lax and feel at home,” she said.

There is also lo­cal art hang­ing on the walls. Kress said some of the artists are stu­dents at Elk­ton High School and the Univer­sity of Delaware, and all of the pieces are for sale. She said she wanted to show­case the tal­ent in the area while giv­ing lo­cal artists a place to dis­play their work, free of charge.

“When you come in here, you not only taste some­thing beau­ti­ful, but you see some­thing beau­ti­ful, too,” Kress said.

Kress is a first-time res­tau­rant owner. She and her fam­ily did most of the ren­o­va­tions them­selves, and her 13-yearold daugh­ter, Susanna, even helped knock down a wall.

Ev­ery­thing went smoother than ex­pected, but Kress said she would be nowhere without sup­port from the city, her landlord Hal Pret­ty­man, and Grain Craft Bar+Kitchen, which sits across the street. She said Lee Mik­les and Jim O’Donoghue – also first-time res­tau­rant own­ers like Kress – were friendly and wel­com­ing as she worked to get her busi­ness to­gether.

“They lit­er­ally checked on me ev­ery day,” she said.

The Per­fect Blend has only been open for a cou­ple of weeks but Kress said she is al­ready en­joy­ing work­ing with her hus­band, Carl, and daugh­ters Susanna and Mag­gie, 17. She said the busi­ness has brought their fam­ily closer to­gether, and her chil­dren are learn­ing what it takes to run a res­tau­rant.

“I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Kress said. “No mat­ter what hap­pens, we’re all in this to­gether.”

Coun­cil­man Todd Ruckle, whose district en­com­passes the new eatery, brought his wife, Maria, and their daugh­ter, Emily, to the rib­bon cut­ting on Tues­day to of­fi­cially wel­come Kress to Main Street. It’s safe to say the waf­fles were a hit with the Ruckle fam­ily.

“It was so good,” Emily said, smil­ing.

“I didn’t think ba­con would be good as a top­ping on a waf­fle with ice cream, but it was fan­tas­tic,” Todd Ruckle said.

The Per­fect Blend is open at 249 E. Main St. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. ev­ery day.

NE­WARK POST PHO­TOS BY KARIE SIM­MONS

Susanna Kress, 13, folds pearl sugar into a bowl of waf­fle bat­ter at The Per­fect Blend. The sugar caramelizes on the out­side of the waf­fle when baked.

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