The Dolly Llama celebrates its grand opening on May 28.
Luscious waffles and ice cream are coming to Uptown Dallas via The Dolly Llama, a waffle-and-ice-cream chain from Southern California making its Texas debut at 2817 Howell St. #210, in a former Smoothie Factory.
According to Trenton McKay Judson, the dessert hero who's bringing the concept to town, it's slated to open in the spring, hopefully by late April.
The Dolly Llama was founded in Los Angeles in 2017 by Eric Shomof and Samuel Baroux, a European restaurateur, who named it for a llama that lives on a farm near Baroux's home in France. Cute llama-based illustrations are key to their branding and decor.
They offer two unique waffle styles: the authentic Belgian Liege waffle and the Hong Kong Bubble Waffle, prepared with a special batter that produces a unique crispy and custard-like texture. (The Hong Kong waffle, AKA the "bubble waffle," is a popular street food with bubble-like rounds that has become popular in the past couple years. DFW has a few places, mostly in Collin County, doing bubble waffles such as Sugababy Canes, Gong Cha, Tea Town, Happy Lemon, and Kirin Court, as well as the Cauldron Ice Cream chain which has locations in Carrollton and Dallas.)
Part of the goal at Dolly Llama is to encourage the idea that you can eat waffles any time of the day, not just for breakfast.
Their waffles figure in an array of desserts, some with toppings such as strawberries & Nutella, or peanut butter & cinnamon toast crunch; and some with toppings plus ice cream.
There are ice cream waffle sandwiches, and a Build-Your-Own option, where customers can pile on unlimited toppings such as cookies, marshmallows, M&Ms, plus an assortment of sauces including Nutella, caramel, maple syrup, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter, white chocolate matcha, and sweetened condensed milk.
Ice cream flavors include vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel, matcha green tea, pistachio, horchata, plus vegan flavors including mint chip. They also do creative shakes.
The Dolly Llama currently operates three locations in the L.A. area, but is expanding in 2022 to Northern California, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Dallas.
Judson has a "day job" as dean at a small school in East Texas and is also a writer, but has extensive food & beverage experience.
"I worked in the service industry in college, putting myself through school and grad school, which I really enjoyed, and wanted to get back into it," he says.
But possibly his more relevant qualification is that he love sweets?
"I love baking and always wanted to start my own sweets business," he says. "I wanted to work with a company that had good marketing and people, and great desserts, and was blown away by Dolly Llama."
He's currently awaiting delivery of a patented waffle press, coming from Belgium. "It creates these beautiful pockets, perfect for ice cream and sauce," he says.
For location, he considered the usuals — Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville, downtown Dallas — before discovering the Uptown address, which became available in October after Smoothie Factory closed.
"I liked the character of the spot, and they're building up the Quadrangle right down the street," he says. "It seemed like a good fit. There's not anything like Dolly Llama in the area, nor in Dallas. I feel like this is something people in the neighborhood will love."