The savory and sweet Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches has made a name for big sandwiches and a big menu in Orange County. But that’s not enough.
The waffle chain is getting bigger, too.
Owners Dean Simon and Kelly Mullarney plan to open a Bruxie store in San Diego at the beginning of next year, eventually to be followed by locations in Los Angeles and Denver. They will hire 40 additional employees for each new location, each of which will go through an extensive two-week training process. Mullarney and Simon will rotate between the various locations.
Bruxie first opened in Old Towne Orange in 2010, and has since added five additional locations in Orange County. Bruxie will also open in Costa Mesa in late November.
Simon credits the popularity of Bruxie, located on the corner of Glassell and Palm streets, to Chapman customers.
“It all started with Old Towne Orange and Chapman,” Simon said. “Chapman University is a big contributor to some of the reasons we’ve been able to expand.”
Bruxie is a small, family-owned restaurant that serves a variety of waffle sandwiches, waffle fries, lemonades and milkshakes. Its waffles range from about $5 to $9, some designed to be desserts, and others to be meals. It serves the traditional Fried Chicken and Waffle in addition to more quirky combinations, like the Prosciutto and Gruyere.
Simon said opening seven stores in three years has been “thought out and very deliberate.”
Claire Coleman, a freshman undeclared major and frequent Bruxie-goer, said her favorite entree is the Turkey Club.
“It’s really unique the way they make the sandwiches,” Coleman said. “There are different combinations that you wouldn’t usually see in a normal sandwich shop.”
The quality of the sandwiches won’t change even with the expansion of Bruxie, said Matt Simon, Dean Simon’s son and a junior business administration major at Chapman.
“I don’t think we’ll ever lose the Fried Chicken and Waffle, we won’t lose the Bruxie Burger,” Matt Simon, who’s now an employee trainer at the Orange location, said. “The baseline menu is going to stay relatively the same, but we’re constantly improving.”
Dean Simon said Chapman students have not only been great customers, but employees as well.
“The ability to have such talented, smart people on our team is really what drives our growth more than anything,” Dean Simon said.
Matt Simon said Bruxie spends time choosing ingredients that taste great and are true to the seasons, and will continue to do so in the new store in Costa Mesa and all future Bruxie restaurants. It frequently offers seasonal specials, such as Pumpkin Cheesecake in the fall and the Lobster Roll for the Fourth of July.
“Everything on that waffle is hand-picked,” Matt Simon said. “There’s a rhyme and a reason for everything we put on there.”
Natalie Wentworth, a Chapman graduate, wrote in an email that she worked for the first Bruxie crew when it opened up shop in 2010.
“The vibe is lively, the food is good, and it’s super close to campus,” Wentworth wrote.
And as for maintaining the quality of the food, Dean Simon said that it would remain just as high.
The Simon duo has worked to develop the signature Bruxie menu together.
“Food is not just food, it’s a passion, it’s love,” Matt Simon said. “I think that’s what a lot of people misconstrue about restaurants in general. It’s not a place of commerce just for food, it’s a place where you can showcase not only the food, but the effort that went into it.”[box]
2010: Bruxie opens in Old Towne Orange in November.
2011: Bruxie opens a second location in downtown Brea.
2012: Bruxie expands to Rancho Santa Margarita and Chino Hills.
2013: Bruxie opens restaurants in Huntington Beach and Irvine.
2014: Bruxie plans to expand outside Orange County, franchising to locations in San Diego, Los Angeles and Denver.[/box]