BRISTOL, Tenn. – Regulars to the hair and nail salons at the Bristol, Tennessee Renaissance Center have been enjoying gluten-free waffles and chicken salad croissants from what may be one of Bristol, Tennessee’s best-kept secrets, Whimsicals Wandering Waffles and Coffee.
“It’s so cute in here. I love that the food is homemade and fresh,” Chelsea Blevins, a regular customer at Whimsicals Wandering Waffles and Coffee, said. “My favorite is the mini waffles. I get strawberries and Nutella on them.”
For Amanda Holbrook, the owner, opening Whimsicals Wandering Waffles and Coffee, which replaced Trailblazer Coffee, has been a dream come true, despite some initial challenges.
“It has always been a dream of mine to open a coffee shop,” Holbrook said. “It’s been good. We didn’t have much traffic, which is why Trailblazers left. I just kind of used my marketing skills that I had acquired from my previous job and started using Facebook and Instagram and just really working it.”
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Because of Holbrook’s social media efforts, as well as word-of-mouth from loyal customers, there is now a steady stream of foot traffic seeking out Holbrook’s gluten-free waffles, pastries, chicken salad croissants, and whimsical daily specials.
“The support and love that I’ve gotten from the community, I have a lot of regulars that have found me that just come in either every day or every other day, and the chicken salad flies off the shelf,” Holbrook said. “There’s no schedule, as far as what I have, other than the posted stuff, but when I do specials, it’s just very whimsical.”
Most of the pastries offered at the Whimsical Wandering Waffles and Coffee are gluten-free. The lunch specials are also usually offered with a gluten-free option.
Holbrook began making gluten-free waffles and other baked goods after her daughter, Olivia Opper, was diagnosed with celiac disease and wanted her to enjoy breakfast.
“My daughter has celiac, she was diagnosed three years ago, and we found that breakfast was kind of like, do you like fruit salad?” Holbrook said. “As a family, we love waffles.”
Once Holbrook incorporated the waffles into her business, she began referring to them as wandering waffles because they serve them in a to-go box.
“Instead of saying to-go, I just thought it was fun, you wander in get your waffles, and then you wander out,” Holbrook said.
Tiffany Tilley, a regular who works in one of the second-floor offices at the Renaissance Center, recommends new customers should get both the waffles and a chicken salad.
“Get the waffle for here. Get the chicken salad to go. You can’t go wrong!” Tilley said.