Waffle Me Up, Baby!” I squelched the temptation to shout that out as I entered Waffle Me Up. Leaving the frigid temperatures at the door, I was greeted by the heavenly aroma of waffles and the warmth of husband and wife owners, Hector and Josie Garcia. The choice of name for the restaurant, Hector says is, “modern, hip, and a verb” which his regulars find fun and inviting.
Waffle Me Up is not your ordinary run of the mill waffle shop. It is an authentic liège waffle shop that boasts Belgium’s most popular handcrafted, gourmet waffles. While the regular waffles most of us are accustomed to are confined to our breakfast tables, liège waffles can be eaten at any time of day, seated or on the go. These waffles show no age bias with the Garcias’ youngest customer being a toddler and oldest being 95.
I was privileged to be treated to The Original, a piping-hot liège waffle which incorporates the folding of imported Belgian pearl sugars into the dough creating a perfect caramelized, crunchy sweet exterior and soft, chewy center, blessed with a snowy deluge of powdered sugar. After a single bite, you are transported to the land of medieval rooftops and lovely canals and feel you can say, I may just have fallen in love, cue the “Hallelujah!”
While the basic liège waffle is a melt in your mouth culinary journey on its own, the offered assortment of toppings that range from nutella, strawberries, cookie butter, and various flavors of coulis to havarti cheese, fried eggs, and bacon serve as a much deserved complement. Achieving the perfect waffle texture, Hector reflects, has been no easy feat. Years of trial and error have resulted in the acquired knowledge that the right combination of ingredients and the ideal temperature hold the key. The Bobacado, which is the Bob Deluxe, a waffle crowned with melted havarti cheese, market fried egg, bacon, syrup, basil, and avocado is a house favorite.
I was struck by the Garcias’ commitment to customer service as Hector was called away to help with the orders. Watching Hector and Josie work together in the kitchen was akin to witnessing a waltz. As Josie put so aptly, “our business is a story.” Leaving family and what they called home in Alaska, the Garcias made a bold move to Idaho 8 years ago. Their journey began at the Nampa Farmer’s Market which earned them a meager $20. This did not deter them from their goal. They were accepted into the Boise Farmer’s Market the following year and their unique niche of liège waffles took off like wild fire.
When asked what the secret of their success is, Hector shares, “I believe in the peanut cart philosophy. I started off with a small table, moved on to a food cart with wheels, then to a food truck, and finally to a storefront. I planted seeds by building a regular base of raving fans through social media and farmer’s markets. Repeat customers amazed me and they brought friends each time.”
The Garcias’ philosophy of hard work and entrepreneurship has guided the parenting of their children, Andy and Angelina, since they were toddlers. Affectionately dubbed the “waffle slayers,” the children’s pride of being part of this family-owned business is nurtured by learning the tricks of the trade and being included with helping out in the restaurant. They are not spared from duties including dish-washing which Hector feels will shape their commitment and responsibility to any path they choose in life.
Gratitude is never far from the Garcias’ hearts. Josie comments, “We love giving back to the community. The community we live in is a great one and they have helped us out, one person at a time.” The Garcias have helped the BSU Meistersingers with fundraising for a trip to Belgium. They have also collaborated with the Boise Rescue Mission and its past and present resident teens. Waffle Me Up opened their doors one evening to serve dinner and a dose of motivation by sharing their “if we can do it, you can do it” success story.
Hector and Josie are visionaries when it comes to Waffle Me Up. They intend to import and brand their own products such as pearl sugars, cookie butter, and Vermont syrup. They have t-shirts for sale and waffle necklaces in the making. The introduction of the sale of frozen waffles, home delivery, and perhaps, six storefronts in the northwest are not far from sight.
Located in an “epic” location as Hector calls it, a stone’s throw from the Capitol Building, Waffle Me Up shares its premises with the Boise Fry Company, bringing to life the perfect combination of waffles and fries. The next time you find yourself craving a waffle-some experience, which includes high speed Wi-Fi and a cuppa from their spanking brand new coffee machine, be sure to drop by Waffle Me Up.
Waffle Me Up • 204 N. Capitol Blvd, Boise, Idaho 83702 • 208.412.7253