Elkton woman opens waffle shop in Newark
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.
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.