“When 7 o’clock hits, it’s like a nightclub here,” said Julie Chen, who scoops ice cream into bubble waffles and sells it to lines of people out the door.
The Hong Kong-inspired egg custard bubble waffle is made to be crispy on the outside, fluffy and airy on the inside, and not too sweet to complement the ice cream.
“The hard part was perfecting the batter, and the fun part was making the menu,” Chen said.
The menu features Ice Ice Bacon, made with salted caramel ice cream, crumbled bacon and caramel drizzle; and Cookieapolis, made with chocolate ice cream, sprinkles and cookies baked in-house. The Boba Waffle is strawberry ice cream topped with mochi, mango popping pearls and lychee jelly. The Eye Candy comes with a giant swirl of cotton candy, and the vanilla ice cream is topped with gummy bears, fruity pebbles, edible glitter and rock candy.
The storefront could have become a Jamba Juice. The owners are franchisees, and they gave it some thought after I Am Coffee closed. But Chen thought it would be more fun to come up with their own concept. She grew up on the East Coast and remembered her mother driving her family to Boston’s Chinatown, where they would buy egg custard waffle pieces from a vendor.
“But let’s modernize it, the American way, with ice cream and toppings,” she said.
Her co-owners decided to go for it, including her husband David as well as her brother Vorak Seng and wife Trisha Dinh, who operate the Subway next door.
The venue holds a mural that’s tailor-made for social media.
“People love that Instagram wall,” Chen said.
Waffle Bar also serves bubble teas, smoothies and black cold press. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12 pm.-10 p.m. Sunday.