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‘Shark Tank’ waffle eatery taking space in downtown food hall

‘Shark Tank’ waffle eatery taking space in downtown food hall

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Press Waffle Co., founded by brothers Bryan and Caleb Lewis, has announced plans to open a shop in Union Hall at Eighth Street and Franklin Avenue.

Texas-based Press Waffle Co., flush with a $300,000 financial commitment from investor Barbara Corcoran on the TV show “Shark Tank,” has announced it will place a shop at Eighth Street and Franklin Avenue.

Press Waffle Co., which specializes in gourmet waffles served with fruits, sauces and whipped creams, will take space in Union Hall, the 18,000-square-foot, two-level food venue developers Shane Turner and Todd Behringer will open this year, according to a press release and information provided by real estate agent Jonathan Garza, who is marketing the site.

Press, a creation of brothers Bryan and Caleb Lewis, is continuing to pursue franchise agreements, according to its press release. It has placed locations in Plano’s Legacy Hall, Fort Worth’s Food Hall at Crockett Row and Baybrook Mall in the Houston suburb of Friendswood. A fourth location is planned at The Collective Kitchens and Cocktails in Oklahoma City.

Franchisees for the Press Waffle Co. location in Waco are Kyle Van de Ven and Kevin Koskovich. This is the first foray into the food business for each.

“We have known the Press guys for a number of years now and have followed their journey from food truck to food hall to their national appearance on ‘Shark Tank,’ ” Van de Ven wrote in the press release. “We have always loved the business and especially the product, so when the opportunity came up for us to partner with them, it was really a no-brainer.”

In an email response to questions, Press spokesperson Morgan Hale wrote the operation will take about 350 square feet in Union Hall and will start hiring a local staff late next month or early June.

“We strongly believe in the food hall model,” Hale wrote. “It is a fantastic opportunity to put our product in front of customers that may not specifically coming for us, but that are interested in a unique food experience. The collective marketing efforts of a food hall are a powerful thing, and putting together multiple specialty dining options all under one roof is something customers are responding to across the country.”

The popularity of Magnolia Market at the Silos also colored the company’s decision to open in Waco.

“When you talk about Waco, you can’t help but talk about Magnolia, so yes that was certainly a factor,” Hale wrote. “But Waco is also very close to our home turf of Dallas and seems like a natural extension of our brand into a city that has been growing exponentially of late and is really developing an identity as a great place to live, work and play.”

Fans of the “Shark Tank” program are familiar with its format, one in which would-be business owners pitch concepts to guest moguls such as Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and regulars Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec. Barbara Corcoran’s financial success and millionaire status followed her launch of a real estate company in New York.

“We definitely went in with our eye on Barbara,” Caleb Lewis said in an article on the restaurant site “We have seen how she has helped restaurant brands like Cousins Maine Lobster and Tom & Chee grow exponentially after ‘Shark Tank,’ and we knew she would be the right partner to help us accomplish our company goals.”

Corcoran secured a 15 percent stake for $300,000, according to the article.

Union Hall will feature 20 food-or-drink spaces, a 300-seat common area, mezzanine, and indoor and outdoor patios. Commitments so far include those from Kurbside Coffee, Around the World international desserts, Captain Billy Whizzbang’s hamburgers, Texas Elite Meat market and a street taco and cantina operated by the owners of La Fiesta.

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