The Waffle Experience Opening First SoCal Location

Connell Restaurant Inc. is opening the unique waffle franchise in Thousand Oaks
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The Waffle Experience, a breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurant with a unique waffle-inspired menu and farm fresh ingredients, is opening its first Southern California location in April.

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Franchisee Kenneth Connell applied for a liquor license for The Waffle Experience at 765 N Wendy Dr., in Thousand Oaks. Kenneth and his wife, Bora Belle, applied for the license as Connell Restaurant Inc.

“We offer a product that is pretty unique for the area,” Connell said in a phone interview with What Now Los Angeles on Tuesday.

There are other breakfast restaurants around the area, he said, but not quite like this.

The unique waffles are made from a yeast-based dough rather than a batter. They use locally sourced natural and organic ingredients paired with flavor infused waffles of brioche bread dough.

“It’s a pretty unique experience for everyone that comes in,” he said, and Connell should know, he was a customer before becoming a franchisee.

The couple attended a wedding in Sacramento a few years ago and after arriving in California’s capital city wanted to find some locally loved cuisine. After reading the rave reviews for The Waffle Experience they checked out the original location in the Natomas neighborhood.

“I immediately loved it,” Connell said. “The food was so good — and photogenic.”

He was such a satisfied customer he was inspired to open a franchise. The interesting combinations of flavors have brought guests a new and creative food experience unlike any other since Executive Chef Michael Donoho founded the restaurant in 2014. There are three locations in the Sacramento area.

His wife, Bora Belle, grew up in the restaurant industry, and he has experience running his own online business, so between the two, they were ready to take on a restaurant business together.

“This is the first business we’ve done together,” he said.

 While they are both invested and heading up the new venture, she’ll keep her day job and he will run the day to day.

“We’re really excited to get started,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a good addition to the restaurant offerings in the area.”

The Thousand Oaks space is approximately 2,400 square feet plus patio dining. There is some interior work to finish before the April grand opening, Connell said.

The beer and wine license will cover bloody Marys and mimosas, as well as Connell’s favorite local brewery, Institution Ale Co.

“I’ll make sure to always have them on tap,” he joked.

The menu also includes savory waffle-based plates, like the Benedict Arnold, which features house cured Canadian bacon, or Praise the Lard, which features house braised pork belly. There are also a variety of clever waffle sandwiches and some sweeter waffle choices.

“If you want a pretty unique breakfast, come on down,” Connell said.

Sara Hall

Sara Hall

Sara has nearly 14 years of experience as a news reporter and editor at several daily and weekly newspapers, including The Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif., The Daily Advocate in Greenville, Ohio, and most recently at the Newport Beach Independent in Newport Beach, Calif. Her work has included photography, writing, design and layout. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, backpacking, traveling and spending time with her husband and pets
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