Ice cream and waffle sandwiches: A dream team turned into reality
New eateries don’t always need to have extensive menus or extravagant entrees to be successful. Sometimes, all that is necessary is one unique, well-executed idea. Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream, which held its grand opening in Maplewood, Mo. last Saturday, hopes to accomplish just that. In terms of food, patrons can order just waffles, just ice cream or ice cream wedged in between waffles.
Truthfully, I was a bit pessimistic about the idea at the start. I enjoy waffles, and I enjoy ice cream. But combining two foods together seems pointless unless the combination brings something greater than just the sum of individual parts. Why would ice cream be any different with waffles? My worry was that the waffles would be crispy and hard to hold, and it would just feel like eating a ball of ice cream from the palm of your hand. I had to try it for myself.
The store itself is tiny. It is maybe wide enough for four people to stand shoulder to shoulder, and is only long enough to fit the ice cream refrigerators, the waffle irons and a small seating area. The location, however, is very convenient for Washington University students. While not within walking distance or along a Metro train line, it is just a six-minute drive down Big Bend from campus. If you have access to a car, it is an ideal distance for cravings or spontaneous snack breaks (particularly given the meager ice cream options available on the Danforth Campus).
I was able to purchase a quarter-sized, half-sized or full-sized sandwich. Each “quarter” of a sandwich involves a half of a waffle, folded over a single scoop of ice cream. This means a “full sandwich,” while only $9, includes two full waffles with four scoops of ice cream. This would probably be sufficient for four people or possibly for just me during finals. For this trip, I split a half sandwich, with one scoop of Gold Coast Chocolate- and one scoop of Bailey’s Irish Cream-flavored ice cream. The ice cream itself should be familiar to Wash. U. students; in lieu of making it in-house, Boardwalk uses ice cream from the local Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream.
After receiving my order, I nestled into the small seating area by the entrance and tested the phenomenon for myself. Despite my pessimism, I was pleasantly surprised. The waffles were soft, Belgian waffles. They did not crumble in my hands—instead, they carefully cradled the ice cream scoop. The ice cream did not drip and spill over my lap; I was able to easily hold and bite through the whole sandwich. The waffle even served to cut the initial cold shock that comes with carving through ice cream with front teeth. Instead of being a clumsy, hurried experience, it was a comfortable, easy one.
There is still some room for improvement. The overall layout of the space, for one, is a bit unwieldy. For some reason, the line begins at the far end of the store, so you need to squeeze by other waiting customers when you want to sample and choose your ice cream flavor. Maybe this is the best that can be done with little space, but I still wish there were an extra foot or so for some breathing room.
For just about $3.50 per quarter, this was a totally worthwhile purchase. It is quick, easy and rewarding, and I can definitely see myself returning for a quick snack after class. For Boardwalk, maintaining a strong social media presence seems to be key, as the grand opening event on Facebook drew plenty of families and students from both Wash. U. and the St. Louis community. As long as Boardwalk can continue to stand out from its narrow little storefront, it should find success as a Wash. U. favorite.