I have nothing against boxes; they are a crucial tool in understanding one another. I check the box “Asian” and you get a small grasp on what I might look like. Granted, what you imagine is solely based on other “Asian” folks in your life, personal experiences, television, etc etc and so, it’s true that what you might expect could be quite off. But for the sake of argument, it at least gets you closer to knowing who I am than having no box at all. Nowadays, I know the belief is running more like, “if your box isn’t really identifying correctly, it’s really better to have no box at all because then you wouldn’t be making invalid assumptions.” Or, “let’s make as many boxes as needed, so that everyone is covered.” Both arguments have their flaws of course, but my point really isn’t box or no box. However you want to encourage your fellow man to lean towards, it’s hard to ignore the fact that boxes do exist whether you acknowledge them or not. They’re in our minds. We created them, our society encourages them, we make decisions daily on them.

Now, let’s take a step away from sensitive social issues and move on to what we do – food. Food has boxes. Gosh darn it.

Waffle Boxes = breakfast, syrup, butter, American, chicken

Restaurant Boxes = nice put together menu, large menu, a variety of seating, signage, open hours all week long, being served

Small Business Boxes = something like large business but smaller, maybe privately owned, not franchised, fewer employees, only 1-2 locations

The above boxes carry weight because some of the boxes are just plain true in most arenas. I walk into ihop and I can expect a large menu with big waffles, options of syrup, and other breakfast items. Same with Starbucks, option city from the coffee, the syrup, the milk, the pastries, not to mention the millions of locations open all day long. But if I walk into the Coffee & Tea Collective (a local roaster here in San Diego), the “coffee shop” box doesn’t fit. I can expect folks working on the craft of coffee and in doing such; no options – not on pastries, syrup, or milk, and limited hours; not to mention a wait time as they wait until you order to even grind the beans. All these food shop choices are great; you just have to know what box your walking into.

Remember the waffle box – breakfast, syrup, butter, American, chicken, batter like pancakes

Here’s the Wow Wow Waffle Box – breakfast/lunch/dinner, snack item, sweet item, savory, bacon, anti-syrup, dough like sourdough bread, Belgian (not American Belgian)

Remember the restaurant box – nice put together menu, large menu, a variety of seating, signage, open hours all week long, being served

Here’s Wow Wow Waffle – NOT a restaurant, food cart, togo menu, daily menu changes, waffles and drinks only!, no other breakfast items, plastic utensils, limited hours, tiny tiny business

Know your boxes folks. We may grow into a restaurant in the future but we are literally a food cart right now. Sure we have a nice patio backyard we would love for you to hang out in but if you’re looking for some bacon, eggs, hash browns, and an acai bowl – go to Swami’s (I love that place; 30th and University). Just like if I’m in a hurry and need some basic tea; I go to Starbucks; if I got some time to kill and want something more community oriented; I’m headed to Coffee & Tea; if I want some tasty local roaster coffee, now I can go to Dark Horse, but if I want some coffee and a sweet breakfast sandwich; I’m off to Subterranean Coffee (who serve Bird Rock Coffee). Even though they all serve coffee AND are all in the heart of North Park (lucky us); they are not all in the same box – they are actually 4 different boxes.

So now you know our box. I left out other parts of us but you get the gist. So come on in, as we will have a soft re-opening very soon (DATE announced on Wednesday!) as our kitchen (where we can then become a restaurant) has not been permitted yet. We are venturing into what we can with our food cart for you die hard Liege waffle fans (and the Hawaiian Lemonade folks too).

In conclusion, I am half Chinese, half Italian and you can put me in any box you want – go for it. I just ask that when you actually meet me; you are willing to change the dimensions of the box as you learn who I am. Don’t try to fit me in your box. We will both lose.

Notes on Shops Mentioned:

Coffee & Tea Collective (El Cajon Blvd & 30th St), DarK Horse Coffee Roasters (North Park Way & 30th), Swami’s Cafe (University & 30th), Subterranean Coffee (30th & 1/2 block up from North Park Way) SAN DIEGO

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