JEFFERSONVILLE — The waffles served at a new sweet shop in Jeffersonville aren’t your typical breakfast waffles — customers at The Funky Waffle Co. can enjoy them served with ice cream or choose from a long list of toppings to customize their own treat.
The Funky Waffle Co., a family-run waffle bar and dessert shop, opened Aug. 18 at 1410 Charlestown-New Albany Road. The shop offers Belgian waffles with about 30 choices of topping.
Owner Andre Brown operates the shop with his wife, along with their teenage kids and two nieces. The waffles are made to order, and customers can choose from a menu of specialty waffles and waffle sundaes or customize their own waffle.
Brown said he wanted the business to be a sweet shop instead of breakfast spot. In addition to waffles, customers can buy desserts such as homemade cheesecake, banana pudding, brownies and cupcakes — his sister-in-law makes the cupcakes, and his cousin makes the cheesecake.
The menu includes a creative variety of waffle treats, including 10 sundaes. The “Totally Tie-Dye” waffle includes pineapple, kiwi, strawberries and blueberries drizzled in honey, and the “Rockin’ Reese’s” waffle sundae features Reese’s candy, chocolate sauce, peanut butter and whipped cream. The “Dy-no-mite” is a waffle topped with banana pudding, whipped cream and caramel sauce.
“Food is one of those things — if you have some good food, it can brighten your day,” Brown said.
Brown said he considers himself a serial entrepreneur. The Funky Waffle Co. is the third business he has started — he previously owned a record store, and he now owns a cleaning service.
“I was looking to get out of the cleaning business — I’m kind of getting burned out,” he said. “So I just started brainstorming other things I could do. I watch ‘Shark Tank’ a lot, and a couple years ago, there were some guys in Texas that had this food truck that had these waffles with all these toppings. I thought, man, that’s a pretty good idea.”
As Brown started thinking of new business endeavors, the waffle bar idea popped into his head, and he started researching authentic Belgian waffles. He started making them at home for his family, and they came up with different toppings, including fruits, syrups and sauces.
“I thought, it’s unique, let’s go for it,” he said.
The family signed the lease on the space at the end of February before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“About two weeks later, boom, here’s the pandemic, everything’s shutting down, and my wife and I are looking at each other like, what are we going to do?” Brown said. “We just said, well, let’s take a step back and just kind of see how this plays out.”
They started moving forward with the waffle shop as businesses started opening back up, and since opening in August, they have received a positive response from customers, Brown said.
Customers enjoy having their pictures taken in front of the shop’s tie-dye wall, he said, and they are trying to create a fun, family environment at The Funky Waffle Co. where people can “let their hair down.”
“The thing that really gets me is when people come in and they’re sitting here with their family, and I’m back there [in the kitchen], and I can just hear them laughing and having a good time — that’s when I know you did something good,” Brown said. “When people are in here laughing and joking, they’re not worried about the pandemic or they’re not worried about their bills, they’re not worried about being unemployed. They’re in here happy and laughing, and that lets me know the food’s good, too.”