One of Houston’s longest-lasting food trucks has finally found a brick and mortar home in the Heights. The Waffle Bus will bring its waffle sandwiches and fries to 1835 N. Shepherd Dr. in early 2019.
The Waffle Bus owner Phi Nguyen tells CultureMap that he searched for a year for the right space. He thought he found it in the Fairview District mixed-use development, but, when that project was put on hold, he found a space next to pizza joint Cane Rosso. According to Nguyen, the truck’s popularity fueled his decision to make the leap to a permanent location.
“One of the reasons is we get booked for so many events and catering that the general public has trouble finding us,” Nguyen says. “I want to be open every day. Just from the announcement, people are saying ‘finally we can find you. We don’t have to go to Midtown at 2 am.’”
Diners can expect to find the truck’s full menu at the restaurant, including its signature fried chicken and waffle sandwich, waffle fries with various toppings, and “fryders” (fried chicken sliders with waffle fry buns). The restaurant’s expanded footprint will also allow Nguyen to expand the menu by bringing back popular specials such as a chicken fried bacon BLT and a bacon, egg, and cheese waffle breakfast sandwich. Nguyen’s travels have also inspired expanded dessert options.
“We’re going to do milkshakes, but I want to do them a little different,” Nguyen says. “We’ll order this machine from Asia that mixes the milk with cereal. It’ll be like eating cereal with ice cream. I saw it in New York. I want to do it here.”
In its six-and-a-half year history, The Waffle Bus has built a devoted following. It won favorite food truck in the Houston Culinary Awards in 2014 and has been featured on The Cooking Channel and CNN. No wonder Nguyen is already contemplating additional locations.
“I think it’s the first of a few,” he says. “We have a great following in Houston. I thought it would have been a waste if I never tried to open a restaurant.”