As East County struggles to adjust amidst tightening state and county restrictions, one Oakley woman is bringing her community together with waffles.
Anissa Williams — Oakley’s newest city councilmember — has built a food truck business called Wanna Waffle? around the concept that tasty, interesting food can also fit into a diet plan. When she found she could control her epilepsy by following a ketogenic diet, Williams ditched the meds and began creating keto and gluten-free waffles. Then she made a foodie-haven for like-minded folks.
“When we’d go out, my options were a bun-less sandwich or burger, or a salad,” she said. “It gets to be a little bit boring, and I wanted to have some of the stuff all my friends were having. The waffle becomes the perfect vehicle for that, and it’s easy to make some low-carb toppings that are still interesting.”
Williams said her goal is to create a menu that excites both parents and kids, with locally sourced, high-quality ingredients in unusual flavor combinations.
“My menu is definitely not average,” she said. “I do want people to push the envelope on what they’re willing to try. My signature waffle has an avocado smash with blue cheese, spicy honey and red pepper flakes, and people were hesitant, but as soon as they take a bite of it, they want more … the point of a food truck is you can have a small, narrow, creative menu and push people’s thinking about what tastes good.”
Before the pandemic changed the face of the restaurant industry, Williams worked for a startup eatery, with 60 locations across the globe. When shelter-in-place restrictions closed restaurants, her New York-based company furloughed its employees – including Williams – and she saw it as an opportunity to follow a dream.
“I had, in previous positions, done some food truck work, so I was familiar with it and decided to give that a shot,” Williams said.
She found a truck that could be ready in a few months and embraced the small space with a design that allowed for maximum efficiency. She said she has loved being part of the recent food truck explosion, allowing people to safely gather in an open area and feel a human connection. One of her favorite spots to park is Broken Road Farm in Brentwood.
“Anissa’s waffles are amazing, and her food truck is adorable, and she and her husband and her family are just good people,” said Sara Mires, who owns the farm.