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Downtown shop owner combines passions of reading and waffles

Fitz Books and Waffles is open Monday through Saturday on Ellicott Street in downtown Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Next time you go for a walk on Ellicott Street in downtown Buffalo, you might notice the smell first. Then you'll see the sign on the sidewalk advertising waffles, books, and inviting you to stop on in. 

Owner Aaron Bartley opened Fitz Books and Waffles during the pandemic, when he decided to combine two of his biggest passions in life. 

"After I completed a career in the nonprofit world, in the social justice world, I was thinking what are my passions," Bartley said. "At the top of my list were books and waffles."

Bartley serves the liege waffles as well as a selection of coffee from the same counter where he rings up his customers. 

"Liege is a town outside of Belgium," he said. "There's obviously a big waffle tradition in Belgium. There's three or four different kinds of waffles. This one has yeast in it, so it's a bread dough that caramelizes with a particular kind of sugar that's shaped like pearls. Pearl sugar. We cook it at a high temperature and it's delicious." 

Fitz also just opened its back patio. 

"We've got good coffee, a place to sit downtown, and it's an oasis down here," Barley said. "It's a really peaceful place, and when we were designing the space, especially the patio, it's all about having a place for people to read quietly. Be contemplative. Meditate if they want and enjoy the waffle, and we think we've done that." 

Fitz Books and Waffles is located at 433 Ellicott Street and open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. 

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