By Zack Lamothe.
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Imagine sitting down at an outdoor cafe, the sounds of street musicians filling the air while you nibble on utterly divine Belgian waffles and sip the tastiest coffee in all of Europe. Although this vivid scene brings to mind eateries abroad, for a culinary slice of Belgian street food the hungry traveler need only travel to Attleboro. For in that fair industrial city a unique eatery offers the finest in street food from Belgium and beyond.
The name of the restaurant is Burgundian, and its origins date back to 2017, beginning as a food truck serving Liege (from the city in Belgium) waffles and coffee. It has since expanded into a multipronged powerhouse. Along with their brick-and-mortar restaurant, Burgundian still operates a food truck often found at the area’s hottest breweries, as well as catering services, and their unforgettable double-decker British bus is stationed at different sites around Providence, serving coffee and quick bites.
A Burgeoning Burgundian
Burgundian’s waffles, street food, and even its name are all interwoven with the story of owner Shane Matlock. Originally an Idaho native, food first became his passion through his grandmother, who was a cook at a local college, and through family events. “We grew up in an atmosphere with family gatherings. Everything always happened around the table.” Shane also worked at a coffee shop while in high school and dreamed of opening his own shop one day.
His life path was forever altered by September 11; he was a college sophomore and decided to join ROTC through San Diego State University in response to the attacks.
During his 15-year career in the U.S. Army, Shane was posted at a NATO base in Lille, France. He soon fell in love with this region where France and Belgium collide. “The impact of the food and history on those communities really inspired me,” Shane explains. “One aspect that I loved was the Belgian street food.” (Although in France, Lille is located close to the border of Belgium.) Shane and his wife, Karen, would venture to the Sunday market in Lille on pedestrian-only streets with accordion music wafting overhead, to nosh on sublime waffles. “I would sit at a cafe table and eat a waffle with whipped cream and have cafe au lait and let the whole scene wash over me.” This experience in France changed Shane, as he fell in love with the culture, food, and drink of this region that draws influences from both France and Belgium. While there he discovered the name “Burgundian,” defined in the seminal The Great Beers of Belgium Book as putting away the stresses of life, being together with friends, and eating and drinking quality food and beverage. Generally, the idea of living well.
Shane was based stateside in Easton for his final army post, and afterward decided to stay in this area working for Collette Tours where he was in charge of Latin America and France travel. Just as in Europe, the street food culture of Central and South America is vibrant. Due to his love of street food, Shane included a street food tour in his trip itineraries.
With dreams of owning his own coffee shop still an aspiration, Shane enrolled at Hope and Main, a premier culinary incubator in Rhode Island. Shane created a recipe for Belgian-style waffles to accompany coffee. His first sale was at the Attleboro Farmers’ Market in 2017 and he developed a food truck to help spread his reach. Subsequently, Shane looked for a brick-and-mortar facility and signed the lease on the Attleboro space only days before the pandemic hit in March of 2020.
What started out as the idea of waffles and coffee at Burgundian has shifted to a restaurant with a variety of street food from around the world. “It’s that expanded vision of what I want Burgundian to be. It’s not just waffles, not just food necessarily, but that lifestyle experience, creating an atmosphere which brings people together from all walks of life to provide a really cool, memorable experience.” International street food is the concept that Burgundian has thus offered. “It’s not being beholden to a type of food; we are able to create within the concept.”
Burgundian is a one-stop food and beverage destination, with specialty coffee and waffles in the morning and sandwiches such as the Korean Jackfruit Sando and the Polynesian Spam Sliders for lunch or dinner, with a tremendous beer selection as well. The menu options, with their fresh ingredients, change seasonally. One of Shane’s favorite dishes is the bowls they serve. All of the street food offered has personal ties to either Shane or one of the Burgundian team members.
A personal favorite menu item of Shane’s is the Peruvian Pork Belly Sandwich. This truly delicious sandwich has a crispy pork belly base, with pickled red onions, sweet potato mousse, pickled chiles, and Aji (a Peruvian pepper ) creole sauce on a firm roll. The French fries that are served with the menu items are truly addictive. They are seasoned to perfection and paired with curry-based mustard.
Of course, Burgundian’s waffles are a must-try. The powdered sugar topping melts into the dough, creating a glaze. The sweetness of the glaze and the waffle base complement each other beautifully. On the savory side, the chicken and waffles are a crowd-pleaser. There are decadent waffle creations as well, including the Belgian Dream and the Chocolate Obsession.
Ever popular, especially during the pandemic, have been the take-home waffle kits where customers are able to recreate the Burgundian waffle experience at home with the kit containing Liege waffles and an array of toppings.
In addition to delicious food and the experience of Burgundian, Shane is all about giving back to the community, with donations to area food banks and the Disabled American Veterans organization. Ten percent of all tips earned at Burgundian are put into a pool that goes directly to a specific country where they get their culinary inspiration. Shane matches the total of the tip money. For 2021, they are bringing the funds to an orphanage in Peru.
Truly, Shane has brought his own experience both in the kitchen and in life to what Burgundian is. If you are looking to unleash your inner Burgundian, make sure to stop by the restaurant in Attleboro. If you can’t make it to the restaurant, check their website to see where the food truck or double-decker bus may be next to catch a little Burgundian on the fly.
55 Park Street
Attleboro, MA 02703
Zack Lamothe, ever the food fanatic, jumped at the chance to write about Burgundian. A bit of a Burgundian himself, Zack fancies good food and good drink and can be found eating, drinking, and writing about his favorite restaurants and breweries in the region.