Take a step into Waffle Frolic and you’ll get a whiff of hard work and perseverance. Which just so happens to smell like waffles and coffee. At least that’s what it seems like, as only 11 months after graduating, Ithaca College graduates Alexis Randall ’09 and Julia Pergolini ’09 opened a waffle bar and coffeehouse on the Commons.
Waffle Frolic serves up three kinds of waffles -- buttermilk, hemp and buckwheat, and vegan gluten-free -- with your choice of toppings, as well as paninis, “Viking doughnuts” (turnover-like puff-shaped pancakes), and an array of fair-trade coffee and espresso drinks.
“We wanted to make food that tastes good no matter what, whether it’s vegan or gluten-free or whatever,” says Randall.
And if the lines over opening weekend were any indication, she and Pergolini have succeeded. Both students and non-students crammed into the brightly colored two-story eatery, sitting at tables or standing by the bookcase housing the free book exchange. Some checked out the art on display by local artist Lisa Holt. Those who used the bathrooms found themselves encircled by room-size murals.
The building was once home to Juna’s Café, a hangout for Randall and Pergolini as undergrads, until it closed in 2008. After graduating, the two bought a white board and tossed around ideas for a place with similar character. Only this place would have waffles for every taste.
“We’re very big on back to basics, doing things the way they’re meant to be done. We don’t cut corners,” says Pergolini. “Being honest about ingredients and honest about what you’re doing is important.”
And because Waffle Frolic is open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s as great a place to wake up and smell the coffee as it is to burn the midnight oil.
Despite the huge amount of work running a restaurant entails, Randall and Pergolini are happy with the result. “So far it’s going well,” says Randall. “We’re really, really excited. It’s really encouraging how positive the feedback has been.”
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