Move over Michelangelo. Make way for a host of Lickelangelos at the Waffle Bar.
Since April, the Lakeville ice cream shop has been scooping up edible works of art to the delight of many.
Mixing a little bit of imagination and tasty treats, co-owner Julie Chen opened her second Twin Cities location in April at 162nd Street and Ipava Avenue.
Patrons aren’t waffling whether they like it or not; it’s been a big thumbs-up.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, the Waffle Bar’s main course is ice cream served in waffle cones with bubble shapes on them in a variety of colorful concoctions.
The Signature Bubble Waffles include Cookieapolis, Strawberry Delight and Oreo Up. The Eye Candy served with a mini cotton candy looks like it stepped right off the set of “Beach Blanket Bingo.”
There are sprinkles here, candies there and ribbons of chocolate everywhere.
Chen founded the business in 2017, saying she was inspired by the street vendors in Boston’s Chinatown when she was a little girl growing up in Rhode Island.
She said she liked the egg custard waffles and wanted to pair them with premium ice cream and delicious toppings.
She brought that concept to the Twin Cities when she opened her Minneapolis location in May 2018.
“The grand opening started off extremely well and the social media buzz gave us lots of exposure,” she said.
What’s not to like?
While there is plenty of the sweet stuff at the Waffle Bar, there’s also fresh fruit toppings such as bananas, strawberries or raspberries, along with smoothies and Bubble Teas.
Of course, there are more decadent flavors, too, such as fresh baked cookies, iced coffee cotton candy and the maple bacon flat waffle.
Chen brought the Waffle Bar to Lakeville in part because she was hearing from customers at the Minneapolis location at 2758 Lyndale Ave. S. that they’d love to have a Waffle Bar in Lakeville.
After doing the market analysis and looking for a site all winter, she and her business partners Connor Monorom, of Lakeville, and Sam Chea, of Savage, decided on the Ipava Center at 16289 Ipava Ave.
“The location is nestled into a great community, with Crystal Lake nearby, many athletic fields, and a golf course,” she said. “It felt like a great place to open the new store.”
She said the business plans to get involved in the local community by hosting fundraisers and making partnerships with other companies and organizations.
Chen and her husband have three young boys, and Monorom, who is also a co-owner and operator, has a daughter who attends Lakeville schools. Monorom has been a nurse for 30 years and is making the transition to the business world at the Waffle Bar.
One way the Waffle Bar aims to keep things interesting for customers is improving the menu by combining new flavors.
For example, Seasonal Bubble Waffles include Fireworks, Brrrberry and Sundae Funday.
“I love to create new menu items and find ways to make the waffle creations prettier and better for our guests,” Chen said. “Seeing the reactions from our guests is rewarding and seeing the business grow is the ultimate reward.”
She said she listens to customers for feedback and incorporates what they say into new treats that are so pretty people might want to admire them for a few seconds before devouring.
The Waffle Bar has scooped up its own niche in the competitive food and beverage industry, and Chen aims to keep it that way by following her recipe for success.
“Follow your passion and set a goal,” she said. “Once you are on your way, ask yourself how you can improve. There is always a way you can improve.”
She said developing a business like this requires working well with others to achieve a vision.
“It takes great teamwork and patience,” she said. “At the end of the day, if your guests are happy with what you’ve done, it’s worth it.”
Hours for the Lakeville location are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
More about the Waffle Bar is online at https://www.facebook.com/wafflebarmn.
Tad Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.