“I just kind of had a knack for cooking,” said Todd Woodruff, owner and general manager of Waffle Champion. He had been the sous chef at Cheever’s Cafe when the mobile truck took off.
By November of that year, Waffle Champion was selling out of its delicious creations within two hours of tweeting its location, which tended to be around N.W. 23rd Street and Walker Avenue.
“Our margins were all good. But you can only do so much in a 10-foot box,” Woodruff said.
As the buzz spread, he and his trusty truck made appearances at street festivals like H&8th and Live on the Plaza, becoming a weekend brunch staple in the process.
In January of 2012, Oklahoma Gazette listed Champion as one of the “must-eat” places for the year.
In the following months, it became habit for Waffle Champ loyalists to wake up, check Twitter for whereabouts of the truck and plan accordingly.
In September, Woodruff announced plans for a brick-and-mortar location at the Twelve Twelve Building, 1212 N. Walker, in Midtown.
“We’d garnered a following, so I knew we were ready to start a restaurant. I wanted my own place. I always have,” said Woodruff. “We had a big social media following, and at least once a week someone would say, ‘That’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.’ So it was time to expand the menu and volume.”
Waffle Champion, from mobile to storefront, opened its permanent restaurant earlier this month. It offers the same favorites as well as an extended version of dishes that take advantage of now having a full kitchen.
“I’m learning as I go. I’m transitioning from a chef role to a general manager role, too. Front-of-thehouse hospitality is important,” said Woodruff.
A different beet
It’s not just the excitement and buzz of Waffle Champion that Midtown feels. You can also pick up a bottle of Organic Squeeze juice.
Organic Squeeze is an organic juice bar slated to open next month in Nichols Hills. Until then, however, juices like Go Green, Funky Beet, Carrot Zinger and Hot Pucker (spicy lemonade) will be available at Waffle Champion.
The place sold about 200 bottles of juice during the first few days that Wafflle Champ was open.
“That was really exciting to be able to sell that many,” said Mike Rhodes, operations manager and owner of Organic Squeeze. “I think a lot of people are scared of beets,” he said. “We’re going to make it taste really good.”
Woodruff told Rhodes that Midtown was developing and could support the market because so many area residents are health-conscious.
“Todd is a really a big supporter of local businesses,” Rhodes said. “He’s kind of a mastermind. He really had this idea.”