Just a year after launching his Waffle Champion food truck on the streets of MidTown, owner Todd Woodruff is looking to establish a permanent presence in the recently opened 1212 Building.
The four-story former garage at 1212 N Walker Ave. was converted to apartments earlier this year and was fully leased when it opened over the summer, said Chris Fleming with developer MidTown Renaissance Group.
Woodruff approached Fleming on the recommendation of Laura Massenat, co-owner of nearby Elemental Coffee at 815 N Hudson Ave., and it wasn't long before a deal was done.
“It brings something to MidTown that with the exception of Prairie Thunder Bakery with their limited breakfast menu — a place where you meet for breakfast — that we're missing and we feel we need,” Fleming said.
Woodruff estimates he will open by spring with an expanded sampling from the eclectic mix of breakfast and waffle items that has drawn customers to his truck.
Woodruff is self-financing much of the venture. He is eager to showcase the work of architect Brian Fitzsimmons, who accepted his challenge to design a space where much of the interior finish will be “do it yourself.”
“It's a big jump,” Woodruff said. “I owe a lot of it to my time at Good Egg, working as a chef and learning what it takes to run a restaurant.”
Woodruff gives a lot of credit for his success to Keith and Heather Paul, owners of Good Egg Dining Group. He said he is looking to set up his operation similar to what he observed at Tucker's, a restaurant operated by the couple at NW 23 and Walker Avenue.
“My first mentor as a chef was Cally Johnson at Boulevard Steakhouse when I was in college studying business and accounting at UCO when I was burning out,” Woodruff said. “Between my junior and senior years, I got a job at Boulevard as a chef when I asked them to give me a shot. I then worked my way to Cheever's, where I got to learn from Robert Black.”
Now, Woodruff is excited by MidTown's continued momentum. He anticipates he will draw good crowds not just from nearby St. Anthony's Hospital, but also from the Oklahoma City University Law School that will move into the old Central High School at NW 8 and Robinson Avenue.
Construction, meanwhile, is set to start in October across the street, where developer Gary Brooks will build the $36 million, 250-unit The Edge apartments.
“This district needs a breakfast stop,” Woodruff said. “We're going to be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days a week.”