One food truck. Two businesses. Two very different businesses, in fact.
That’s the story – and success – of The Modern Waffle and Three Kids Lobster, a food truck in Omaha, Nebraska that on one side reads The Modern Waffle, and on the other, The Three Kids Lobster. Two distinct menus, one focused on waffles and the other on lobster rolls, are run out of the same (small) kitchen. And both are the creation of Chef Jon Taylor and his mother, retired ordained pastor Bonnie Taylor.
First, let’s discuss the waffles. Jon, a food industry veteran who’s been cooking since he was old enough to stand on a chair and help his mom in the kitchen, said he and his mother were looking for a way to work together. When his wife Brittany saw that The Modern Waffle food trailer and business was up for sale, they decided to go for it.
“We took over The Modern Waffle on October 1, 2021, and it’s been an incredible adventure ever since,” said Bonnie. “There was definitely a learning curve in taking over a food trailer, as Jon had been in many other areas of the food service industry, but never food trucks.” The pair took over The Modern Waffle not just because of their love of Belgian waffles, but because it was “special occasion food” that Bonnie cooked for her children growing up. Although The Modern Waffle was already operating as a waffle food truck, the pair wanted to invent new and fun menu items inspired by their everyday life.
“When we first opened, we created a waffle called The Woodsman,” said Bonnie. “This waffle was born from Jon imagining hiking in the woods in the late fall, early winter. He thought about the smells, the cold, and the seasonal veggies that go with this time of year. We wound up with a wonderful, savory creation.” Other waffle creations are more straightforward and pull from their regional Omaha surroundings.
Bonnie’s chili inspired a current seasonal specialty favorite, The Chili Waffle. “We thought this would be great on a waffle in the winter, and our guests agree because some of the regional specialties are chili and cinnamon rolls,” said Bonnie. “This was a new one to us, but we love drawing on this concept for our Cinnamon Roll Waffle, with a cup of chili on the side.”
The duo’s creativity led to the lobster portion of the business, which launched in June of 2022. The idea, said Bonnie, was to share a piece of their East Coast history of summers vacationing on Cape Cod and growing up in Maine.
“Jon remembers watching lobster boils rolling on a special stove on the utility porch at his grandparent’s home, then sitting around a big table with the entire extended family, each with a delicious lobster waiting to be devoured on their plates,” said Bonnie. “That’s when he fell in love with lobster of any kind.”
When his wife Brittany ordered fresh lobster flown in from Maine to Omaha as a special surprise, Jon knew he wanted to share his favorite food with the Omaha community. “Honestly, we have been blown away by the reception that Three Kids has gotten,” said Bonnie. “The first weekend, Jon doubled the most optimistic estimate for how many rolls we would sell, and we still sold out within hours.”
As for what makes their Connecticut and Maine-style lobster rolls so popular? The two said it’s mostly customers wanting to try a lobster roll for the first time and transplants wanting to reminisce on their New England lobster roll memories.
Down the road, there are plans for a brick-and-mortar. Said Bonnie: “We want to give people a place to gather and enjoy even more New England delicacies in an environment where we have more flexibility in what we can offer.” For now, it’s all about the food trucks.
NEXT ON THE DISH
Leave a Comment