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Feed the Cheeks, Zinneken’s coming soon to Thayer area

Owners discuss hopes for opening, students share excitement for new offerings

Feed the Cheeks has another location in Wayland Square, and Zinneken’s has locations in Harvard Square and Glastonbury, Conn.
Feed the Cheeks has another location in Wayland Square, and Zinneken’s has locations in Harvard Square and Glastonbury, Conn.

New locations of Feed the Cheeks, a cookie shop, and Zinneken’s, which serves Belgian waffles, plan to open just off Thayer Street this semester. Both located on Angell Street, Feed the Cheeks will be next to DenDen Korean Fried Chicken, and Zinneken’s will be in the neighboring lot.

Feed The Cheeks is run by a husband and wife team: Mahran Izoli and Shahida Roslan, also known as Mr. Cheeks and Mrs. Cheeks respectively. They started the business out of their apartment during the pandemic but never thought it would grow to its current magnitude, Izoli wrote in an email to The Herald. “While it’s been a long crazy journey — and definitely has not been easy — we are very happy at where we are today, staying humble and mindful of where we started,” he wrote.

Feed the Cheeks currently has a location in Wayland Square. The new location at 190 Angell St. will open some time in October, Izoli wrote. The opening was pushed back from the team’s target date because they were still waiting on a number of items before the storefront could be fully operational.

“The new location will offer not only cookies, but soft serve ice cream and premium coffee and espresso drinks,” Izoli added. “We also took our time with the aesthetic and interior design of this store (and) can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

The menu includes gooey flavors such as funfetti and classic chocolate chip, as well as additional seasonal options.

Another married duo is opening the Zinneken’s venue at 194 Angell St. — Rachel Nguyen, franchise owner, and Rex Tran, manager. “We are proud to be the third location of Zinneken's Belgian Waffles,” Tran wrote in an email to The Herald.

The original store is in Harvard Square, and a second location later opened in Glastonbury, Conn. Zinneken’s speciality is the Belgian pearl sugar waffle — aka the “liège waffle” — with caramelized sugar, Tran wrote. “It is rich, sweet and an indulgent waffle.”

Another specialty is the Brussel waffle, “loved by many with its light and crispy texture made from a dedicated batter,” Tran added. The waffles can be served with a variety of fresh fruit toppings and sauces, and Zinneken’s will also offer coffee, in addition to teas imported from Paris.

Tran and Nguyen have faced hiccups in the construction and opening process — including a shortage of workers — but “are striving to open the store this semester,” he wrote. “We are very excited to be a new member of the Providence community.”

Feed the Cheeks gained success in Wayland with foot traffic in the neighborhood and noticed many students coming from Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design. “We wanted to bring our product even closer and be dead center in the heart of College Hill,” Izoli wrote. “There weren't many (real estate) options on Thayer, but we are very pleased with the location on Angell.”

Students are excited for the upcoming openings.

“I love Thayer a lot so far… to get a break from the dining hall food because there’s a lot of variety,” said Nicholas Espinosa Sanchez ’26.

“I feel like they would both be great additions to the selection (on Thayer),” Espinosa Sanchez said of the two restaurants. Though he hadn’t heard of the new venues before, he is “pretty excited… (and) would definitely go try them” once the stores open.

Feed the Cheeks would give students another option for baked goods, Espinosa Sanchez added. As for Zinneken’s, “the waffle station isn’t always open,” in the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall, and Zinneken’s could be another breakfast and dessert option, he said.

Safah Tariq ’23 also heard about the upcoming storefronts, and knows some other upperclassmen living near the new storefronts. “It’s nice to have another dessert place since there seems to be an extensive collection of boba restaurants but nothing else really” besides Ben & Jerry’s, she added.

“Especially being a senior, I have shifted my focus slightly to enjoying my last year in Providence and exploring it as much as I can,” Tariq said. “If there’s a new place close by to explore, I want to take advantage of that.”

“We are super excited to serve the Brown and RISD community, as well as the local grade schools in the area,” Izoli wrote.

“The environment (on Thayer) is vibrant and always evolving,” similar to the area around Zinneken’s original location near Harvard, Tran wrote. “We want to bring a new vibe to the community and hope that we will grow to become a ‘must try’ or a bucket list whenever someone visits Providence.”

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