Fans who watched The Great Food Truck Race this past season were treated to a lot of culinary talent and charismatic contestants. One team that stood out to us was Team Pop-A-Waffle. Who can forget the handlebar moustache of Bobaloo, the flag waving of Scott and the great food prepared by Chef Anthony? We surely didn’t! We caught up with Bobaloo Koenig (@bobaloorocks) to learn more about Team Pop-A-Waffle (@PopAWaffle).
FP: We love the concept of Pop-A-Waffle. How do the three of you know each other? How did the concept evolve?
BK: Scott and I have known each other and been friends in LA for about four years. Anthony joined the team in our search for a chef for the truck. The concept evolved from a conversation about a year and a half ago where I was angrily talking about my day job with Scott, and I said, “Why can’t my day job be as fun and easy as baking cookies?”
Scott challenged me to run with that somehow. I started to become kind of a mad scientist about it. I had brown craft paper on my bedroom walls and every idea I could come up with on how to sell cookies and make a living was written down. It evolved into a cookie-based food truck, with two other backup concepts. One of those concepts was a wacky breakfast truck. We focused that concept into a waffle concept and eventually Pop-A-Waffle was born.
FP: Tell us about your experience on the Great Food Truck Race. What was it like to compete with the other food trucks? Which city was your favorite?
BK: Competing in the race was fantastic. It really challenged us to see if we could really run a food truck in any real capacity. You can get it all down on paper and think you can adjust to anything, but until you are on the truck slinging waffles at a rapid pace and trying your best to make people smile in 100+ degree heat…but it was worth every minute as we drove across the country each week.
We love road trips, so getting to see the beautiful landscapes of the entire trip was fantastic. As rookies in the business, we felt less concerned about competing against the other trucks. We decided from the beginning to focus our competitive efforts on ourselves. We wanted to make sure we improved on our food, prep times, customer wait times, and our communication. That mantra paid off in spades. We’d be lying if we didn’t say we love Nashville (where we won our first city), but all of the cities had their own charms and beauty, no matter where we placed.
FP: Sounds like a great experience for sure!
Besides Pop-A-Waffle, what is currently keeping you and the other team members busy? Any projects in the works?
BK: Most of our efforts are going into developing and planning for the Pop-A-Waffle truck to get open as soon as possible. In the meantime, Scott is still creating flags and running his business Spin Your World. Anthony is developing menus for the truck, as well as traveling back home to his hometown of Boston with his girlfriend Melanie. I’ve been working on another local food truck, The Lobos Truck, while developing the business plans with the team.
FP: What are some of your favorite meals to prepare when you are home?
BK: I love to bake cookies and cakes, but also love to make simple comfort foods like mac-n-cheese and soup. Scott loves to make all kinds off food, from easy crock-pot meals to homemade ice cream. Chef Anthony loves recreating dishes from his mother and grandmother, such as pork guton (it’s like a country style pate) and black moons (other people call them whoopee pies, but not in my family!)
FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂
BK: We love food! Pop-A-Waffle joins a very innovative and adventurous mobile food culture, and we love sampling all of the unique flavor combinations from our fellow food truck operators. It’s just another great aspect of this industry–the ability for chefs to really get creative and introduce something new to our palette. No guilt here, just pleasure!
One of Chef Anthony’s foodie pleasures is making a dish using duck or bacon fat. So unhealthy, but soooo good!
FP: We hear ya… we just love food too!
Name three individuals you would invite over for dinner.
Bobaloo: Paul Stanley of KISS fame, actor Tim Curry and British singer Robbie Williams. I’m just an enormous fan of all three of them, and would love to spend the entire evening listening to stories of their lives.
Scott: I’d invite my family–my parents and brother. Growing up, we gathered around the dinner table every night. We don’t do it nearly as much anymore, but those were very special times.
Anthony: Julia Child, Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet), and Thomas Keller, they are my three biggest influences and I think it would be amazing to share a meal and a conversation with all of them.
FP: In three words, how would your friends/family describe you?
Bobaloo: Funny, Energetic, Driven
Scott: Creative, Brave, Smart
Anthony: Crazy, Creative, Intelligent
FP: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to start a food truck?
BK: The biggest piece of advice we can give anyone is to do your research. Go to trucks, talk to owners, read every article you can about it online. If you can even get a chance to work on a food truck, do it. Getting a truck started is a lot of work, and is not for the casual or lazy owner.
FP: Great advice indeed!
Will the people in Los Angeles see a Pop-A-Waffle truck cruising the streets in the near future?
We are working towards a goal of opening the Pop-A-Waffle truck in February (hopefully!) here in Los Angeles, and we are thrilled!
FP: That’s great news! We have no doubt that Pop-A-Waffle will be a success! If we visit Los Angeles, we’ll make sure to stop by! Thank you again for your time.