Cori Haines-Tutrone and her family took a leap of faith when they decided to switch their business from coffee to waffles and ice cream. For years, she ran Aroma Café out of the Gateway Mall, but after the mall underwent remodeling, Haines-Tutrone and her family chose to move on to creamier, more waffle-y pastures — in this case, a food truck called I Scream for Waffles.
“We really didn’t want to be under the thumb of a big corporate leasing office in another state and dumping tons of money into a corporation,” Haines-Tutrone says. “So we just pooled all our resources and used our past experience to venture out on our own, to be part of the local economy.”
The waffle truck, painted a cheerful turquoise, is a repurposed Frito Lay truck, which Haines-Tutrone says came complete with leftover chip bags in bins. Haines-Tutrone and her business partner, Drew Main (who also happens to be her daughter), launched the food truck in March at the Evergreen Tattoo Invitational. Business has boomed since.
The sugar-rich sweetness of liège waffles paired with decadent, house-made ice cream evokes the flavors of summer, but Haines-Tutrone says that waffles are a diverse medium that can match any season.
“We didn’t want to be locked into just liège waffles and ice cream,” she says, “so we structured the menu for flexibility. We do waffle fries and waffle burgers, and chicken waffle cones are super popular.”
Besides the fact that fried chicken and waffles is perhaps one of the most divine food creations to grace the world, chicken waffle cones filled with mashed potatoes make easy, portable meals, perfect for festivals and other events, Haines-Tutrone says.
“We are constantly recipe testing,” Haines-Tutrone says, adding that a few menu items in the works include bacon mac ‘n’ cheese waffle cones and Caesar salad waffle cones.
Harkening back to her coffee origins, Haines-Tutrone says the food truck will soon serve nitro coffee, a smooth, creamy take on cold brew — think the consistency of Guinness, but with coffee instead of beer.
Haines-Tutrone says I Scream for Waffles sources many of its ingredients locally and tries to be “as eco-friendly” as possible, using compostable plates and recyclable materials.
With the added mobility of a truck, Haines-Tutrone’s business has operated at a handful of Eugene-Springfield venues, including Lane United games, beergarden., Ninkasi and wineries. She will bring her truck to Faerieworlds at Horning's Hideout in Portland this September, where she’ll serve “faerie waffles” with edible glitter and whipped cream.
Haines-Tutrone says the transition from mall kiosk to food truck has been challenging, but she appreciates the welcome she and her family have received from the local food truck community.
“It’s just a really tight-knit group of the hardest working people I’ve ever met,” she says. “It’s been awesome. Everybody networks together, and it’s a supportive community that’s amazing to work with.”
I Scream for Waffles’ locations and hours vary; follow its Facebook page or find them on the Eugene Street Food app for more info.