Theophiel and Alice, my great grandparents, immigrated to the United States from Belgium and Holland in the early 1900's seeking a better life. Farmers and bakers from the Zeeland countryside, they made their way from Ellis Island to Rochester, New York.
My Great Uncles and Aunts, fleeing poverty and war in Greece, took their chocolate making traditions with them as they sprawled out across the United States- most notably in Minnesota and New York. Nick Boosalis, my great uncle, settled in Williamson, New York outside of Rochester- where he opened The Candy Kitchen, a soda fountain and chocolate shop that became a local staple for generations to come.
Uncle Nick brought his two nephews, George and John Boosalis (My grandfather) to Williamson from Niata, Greece in the 1950's to help manage his soda fountain and make chocolates.
In October of 1960, Uncle Nick sold his store to his nephews, where they continued the tradition.
Williamson, NY- world famous for its hundreds of apple varieties.
East Rochester, 1964
In 1964, John Boosalis, along with my grandmother, Eleftheria Hatzinikolaou, decided to move closer to the city and start a family. doing what they did best, they opened up another Candy Kitchen in the village of East Rochester. known for it's 36 homemade ice cream flavors, hand spun shakes, soda jerks and American fare, the restaurant remained a local hot spot until the building was torn down due to urban renewal in the 70's. After, they opened two diners in the city of Rochester, The Sterling Diner and The Royal Knight- which was a 24 hour diner in the heart of the city's east end district for over 40 years.
the wafel cart
In 2012, after graduating business school at Temple University, I piloted a food cart at the Rochester Public Market with create your own Belgian street waffles. My inspiration for The Wafel Cart was two fold; I wanted to stay true to my roots while doing something new to the city, and do it on a tight budget! Within a short few months, The Wafel Cart had quite the following. However, the next year I found myself in NYC employed full time.
After a 3 year waffle hiatus, and some luck, I mustered the courage to quit my job in NYC so I could focus 100% on opening The Waffle Factory. I was able to find a reasonably priced location, although on the smaller side, with ample parking and a great patio area adjacent to Webster villages' Navy Park. I didn't know what to expect by any means. After a long 3 months of planning and preparing, and with $50 left in the bank, we finally opened on October 25th, 2016 at 8pm- and the rest is history!