If you have never visited (or even heard of) Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream, perhaps you’ve seen the billboards—six of them, currently—spread about the local landscape.  How does a place that sells only ice cream and waffle sandwiches out of a 550-square-foot, 12-foot-wide space in Maplewood (with signage partially blocked by a tree) afford such extravagance?

“What can I say? Business has been really good,” gushes Eric Moore, owner of the teeny tiny shop that opened nearly three years ago.

Part of the success is due to “event and catering sales that went through the roof this year,” says Moore, who says October’s sales tripled any prior year’s sales for that month and outside sales now account for 50 percent of the store’s revenue. He credits event coordinator Leah Williams for the increase, adding that she "burned through 250 business cards in a minute."

Another part of the success is the sheer simplicity of the concept: a fresh, profitable, custom-made item that’s ready in two minutes and requires minimal labor to produce. “And since we make the batter pretty much as we need it—there’s zero spoilage,” beams Moore.

And some of the success stems from the curiosity arising from his newest products, four rotating flavors of CBD-infused ice cream, and two new standard flavors, Gooey Butter Cake and Cookie Monster (which, despite its electric blue color, has “a mature flavor,” according to Moore).

He confesses that the CBD ice cream was a challenge to refine. "No one in the area wanted to take the risk [to produce it]," he says of the product, which he feels is an untapped market. "I don't smoke or drink, but I do use CBD."

Moore says that when the Ice Cream Factory, a boutique producer based in Eldon, Missouri, solicited him for business, the CBD talks began, and now the company produces all of Boardwalk’s ice creams. "He found me," Moore says, "and his product is beyond great."

As reported by 40 South News, Moore was planning on moving the waffle shop from 7326B Manchester to 7376 Manchester, a corner parcel at Manchester and Sutton that was part of the former Live Juke Joint Dueling Piano Bar. (Elmwood restaurant took the remainder of the space.) Moore finalized the lease last week and says construction will commence this month. He plans to stay in the original space until late January and hopes to have the the new location open by early February to coincide with the company’s third anniversary.

The proposed floor plan, posted by Moore on Facebook last week, calls for a larger order counter (that can accommodate eight additional ice cream flavors), approximately 40 seats, and a stage for live music, which will be an integral part of Boardwalk 2.0.

“There isn’t a lot of live music in Maplewood,” he's observed. “I want people driving and walking by to hear the music and wander in to investigate that funk, soul, jazz, or swing,” a vibe he hopes to continue until midnight.

Moore has applied for a full liquor and Sunday license and plans to serve beer, wine, boozy shakes, a limited number of cocktails, as well as non-alcoholic beverages and beer from St. Louis-based WellBeing Brewing.

“I’m not doing anything revolutionary,” he says. “I’m just using the corner to enhance what I already have.”

Since it’s not a restaurant or bar, per se, Moore hopes to lure the dessert crowd, families, couples on dates, and passersby. With the additional space, better visibility, alcohol sales, and seating (something the prior location did not have), Moore is as bullish on Maplewood as ever.

Moore says he’s designed the larger floor plan to act as a template for future locations, two of which are slated to open in South County next year. Look for a store to open at 4348 Telegraph Road in March and one at 4065 Union Road in May.

And next week, Moore will roll out Boardwalk’s first food truck, a former municipal shuttle bus. He says the cost and retrofit are so reasonable, he could easily buy two more. He’s also working on a new website and app that will include discounts, coupons, and information about how to book the truck.

All of a sudden, those six billboards seem a lot more affordable. Moore is now advertising on phone apps, too, and says he could easily justify more billboards as he expands in the spring and better learns the market.

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Mahe is St. Louis Magazine's dining editor. Originally a finicky eater, he has owned or operated restaurants most of his life. He began reviewing them for SLM in 1991.

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