On The Line: Brian Fast Of Waff-N-Roll, Part One
Photo by Christina Bryson
Luxe lonchera owner Brian Fast is no stranger to foodservice, but he is relatively new to the mobile meal scene. He draws his restaurant experience from Arthur's Coffee Shop in La Habra and collaborates with chef consultant Elizabeth Whitt to create fulfilling meals sandwiched in a waffle made with no oil. We bear the heatwave for an afternoon to figure out what makes him tick.
What sparked the idea of Waff-N-Roll? It was the smartest way for me to enter the emerging worldwide waffle sandwich market. Also, the thought of a restaurant with a transmission simultaneously intrigued and terrified me-- so I knew I had to do it.
What surprised you most about operating a luxe lonchera? Everything shakes . . .all the time.
Is there a dish you'd like to learn how to make? The best coq au vin in the world.
Where was your most recent meal? Nirvana Grill (Laguna Beach). Poblano chili appetizer, vegetarian risotto and whole sea bass. Pretty awesome.
Your earliest food memory: Breast milk [Editor's Note: Coincidentally, this was also his response to 'Favorite meal growing up' and 'Strangest thing you've ever eaten'.]
Let's talk about your waffles. What makes them special? Waff-N-Roll waffles are oil-free and very crispy. Depending on the sandwich, the customer may detect notes of yeast, malt or vanilla in their WNR waffle. Our custom waffle plate design and batters produce waffles that maintain their crispness and complement almost all fillings and flavor profiles.
What is your most popular item? Slow-braised, pulled pork waffle sandwich with house-made mango-chipotle bbq sauce and sweet & creamy slaw.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your menu? I thought of how I could put my favorite foods into my unique Waff-N-Roll waffle.
Can you describe the theme at both Arthur's and Waff-N-Roll? Arthur's Coffee Shop is wholesome food meets truck stop chic. Waff-N-Roll is Brussels meets Memphis at Coachella (with Muse playing, Dave Chappelle crushing the backstage party and Julia Child giggling from above.)
Favorite places to eat (besides your own). The Golden Truffle, Three Seventy Common, Vine, Tabu Grill, Nick's (Laguna Beach).
We read you opened a coffee stand when you were younger? That "About Us" story is a complete fabrication-- note the part about my business partner being a rooster [Editor's Note: We thought that was a euphemism.]. The story was my attempt (evidently misunderstood) to plan some irreverent sense of humor on my bestbreakfastoc.com website (for Arthur's Coffee Shop in La Habra).
I thought the story would be an obvious attempt to mock the contrived "image stories" by management of large chain restaurants (i.e. Mimi's Cafe), a practice for which I have a well-developed disdain. Perhaps because the stories always leave me wondering if management believes I have the IQ of Honey BooBoo.
One food you can't live without. Our juicy fried chicken with chipotle maple drizzle waffle sandwich. Because it contains the four essential food groups: Flour, Salt, Fat and Sugar.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best: Waffle sandwich food trucks.
Most undervalued ingredient. Salt.
What is your goal for Waff-N-Roll? Answer is somewhere between 'One Great OC Waffle Sandwich Truck' and 'Worldwide Waffle Sandwich Domination'.
You're making breakfast; what are you having? Something/anything smothered in country bacon gravy. Or prunes.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?): Make over-hard eggs with the yolks hard and the whites runny. I was less-than-respectful with my denial.
Best advice for aspiring truck owners. Same as best travel advice: Bring a sense of humor, half the clothes and double the money.
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