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Waffle Wagon brings a taste of Belgium to the area

Sunday, 28 January 2018. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Waffle Wagon brings a taste of Belgium to the area
Lieve Parisis at the Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence in October.   Photo by Shannon Robison

Waffle Wagon brings a taste of Belgium to the area

By Jessica Buhler

Lieve Parisis — owner of the Waffle Wagon, a Belgian eatery on wheels — won the home business award at the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence this past fall.

“I was extremely honoured to be nominated to begin with, and of course happy to have won,” she says. “It was a nice confirmation that people in town appreciate my business and enjoy my waffles and the food that I serve them.”

The Waffle Wagon began as a hobby. While Lieve didn’t plan to start a food truck, there is quite a story behind it.

About four years ago, Lieve and her husband met a couple in Pincher Creek who are originally from Belgium, just as they are.

The couple spoke of their son-in-law, who had a waffle business in Calgary about 30 years ago and still had the waffle maker, imported from Belgium, sitting in his garage.

“They thought he might be willing to sell it and so we went to Invermere,” says Lieve. “We spent a lovely day on the water and ended up coming home with a waffle maker as well as an assortment of cast-iron waffle irons.”

“And so it began,” she says.

“We said we could use it just for personal use and parties with friends. After my husband built a little cart for it so the heavy thing could be moved easily, and after we discovered that the waffles we made were a big hit amongst our friends, we decided to buy a trailer and build a waffle food truck.”

The business was a hit, and Lieve knew the purchase had been a great decision.

“At first I combined the Waffle Wagon with another part-time job, since the food part was more something to do on the side,” she says.

“However, it was growing so fast that I couldn’t keep combining both. And so I quit my job to focus on the Waffle Wagon, which was the right choice to make. It has been growing ever since.”

When asked what is so special about her waffles, Lieve reveals some of her secrets. The Liège waffles are different because of the special sugar they have in them — she imports the pearl sugar from Belgium.

After serving the Liège waffles three years ago, she quickly realized she had to switch up the menu and cater to the Canadian public.

Instead of serving plain waffles, like you would find in Belgium, she began offering them with strawberries and added savory waffles to the menu, which were an instant success.

“I learned that Canadians found waffles to be a breakfast item only and once 11 a.m. was past, they would walk by and say, ‘I have had breakfast. Looking for some lunch now.’ I think that with introducing the ham-and-cheese as well as the apple-and-brie waffle, I changed that perspective and I now sell waffles at all times of the day.”

The Waffle Wagon consists of three components: the food truck, Belgian baking, and catering to all sizes of functions.

While waffles are Lieve’s specialty, she also offers everything from crepes and burritos for breakfast, to quiches and wraps for lunch, to beef stew and scalloped potatoes for supper.

She delivers in town for free and out of town out for a small fee.Last month she obtained a portable waffle unit, so she can now set up a station inside a building, which simplifies catering for indoor parties and private functions.

“When I go out for my Waffle Wagon Wednesdays, I am always amazed how many returning customers I have,” she says. “The same happens when I sell my baking at the farmers market.”

Lieve is also getting many more catering requests as a result of her fabulous food, including out-of-province organizations that have meetings or gatherings in the area.

Lieve has also partnered with the Barrel and Basket Mercantile, which recently opened its doors in Pincher Creek.

“A friend of mine told me to go check out ‘the cool new place on Main Street,’ which I did the same day,” says Lieve. “While browsing the front of the store, Charity, the owner, approached me and we started talking. I told her I was a baker and in response she told me that she was looking for one.”

The next day, she took in her first order of freshly baked breads and goodies.

The store focuses on local suppliers, a perfect fit for Lieve. Currently she offers two kinds of bread at all times, assorted puff pastries, berry-almond tarts, frangipane tarts and more, which she delivers a few times per week depending on the demand.

Lieve is excited to start up the waffle truck once the weather is nice, and hopes to start at the beginning of May.

She is looking into driving the truck to Crowsnest Pass and Fort Macleod in the summer, and participating in some bigger events in Lethbridge and Calgary.

“I would like to thank the community for the ongoing support and for the word-of-mouth promotion I have received over the past three years,” she says.

If you would like to book the Waffle Wagon for a catering function, call Lieve at 403-627-4965, send an email to thewafflewagon@hotmail.com or send her a message via her Facebook page, thewafflewagon.

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Lieve Parisis is always ready to provide service with a smile to customers like Kate Feist, left, and Jennifer Fisher-Sundberg.   Photo by Brenda Shenton