TULSA, Okla. — Waffle That! restaurant hadn't even been open a full six months when the coronavirus pandemic hit, but the staff there are determined to keep operations going past this "speed bump."
The restaurant's owner, Roy Tillis, had been working on recipes for years before opening the store front at 2115 M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Tulsa, OK 74106.
"I really wanted it to be different," Tillis said. "I wanted to make sure it was something that no one could duplicate it."
Tillis came up with the idea in 2015 after he went out of town to visit family, and he first tried the chicken and waffles combination.
"I loved food and I like to try different things, so I tired it," Tillis said. "I became a such of a fan of it."
He knew he had a good idea when he came back to his hometown of Tulsa when he started craving the meal again.
"So, when I came back to Tulsa and couldn't find it anywhere, I knew this would be successful," Tillis said. "Thats when I started working on my own recipes."
He worked on the recipe for year then decided to start out small with a food truck in June 2018. After an overwhelming response from the community, he opened Waffle That! in late November of 2019.
Business had been steady but then the pandemic hit, forcing Tillis to close his doors to the public.
“It effected us. it effected us a lot," Tillis said. "And sometimes we aren’t able to keep product because the stores are empty now."
Though the situation is far from ideal, he refuses to cut expenses by furloughing his staff.
“We try to stay positive. My employees are still here and not only that, I’m still here with them," Tillis said. "I did this for my family and to pass down to my kids, and my employees have families and bills, too."
Knowing that they have their bosses full support during this pandemic has made the already dedicated Waffle That! staff want to work even harder.
“I’m just very gracious the family has allowed me to come here despite this pandemic," said Dino Teage, Waffle That! supervisor.
“It just feels so good because it's allows me to to keep supporting my little one I have at home," said Angle Ogundari, Waffle That! hostess. "I'm just grateful that he was even able to keep it open and keep it here. So, we work extra hard and make sure to do a good job so we can continue to stay here and provide for the people."
Tillis and his team agrees they have come too far to let this challenge beat them.
“It’s always been a grind and a battle, and we appreciate the sacrifice that comes with it and we are here to persevere," Teague said.
“We won’t let COVID-19 stop us from where we are trying to go," Ogundari said. “We'll keep feeding people good food and a smile on the way out”
To ask questions about the Waffle That! menu, click here.
To place a pick-up order, call 918-932-8081.
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