Skip to main content

Charleston Business

Passion for Cooking Fueled The Creation of Waffle Drop

Apr 25, 2023 12:49PM ● By Angelia Davis

Lina Morales Cordero couldn’t find a shop in Upstate South Carolina that offered her family’s favorite dessert – bubble waffles.

So, she’s opening her own, two years after moving to the state from New Jersey. The new store, Waffle Drop, is slated to open in Greenville’s Hampton Station in April.

The shop will feature the dessert, a spherical egg-based waffle that originated in Hong Kong.

Cordero describes it as a cross between a pancake and a waffle, with a bunch of little egg-like shapes.

“It’s fluffy, it’s airy, and it’s really, really good,” she said. “To me, it’s so much better than a traditional waffle and pairs great with ice cream and (other) toppings.”

The Waffle Drop venture is fueled by Cordero and her husband Ismael’s passion for cooking and love for their three daughters, ages 3, 7, and 11.

One day, after the family had settled into their Simpsonville home, the girls asked their parents for bubble waffles. There wasn’t a shop around that sold them, Cordero said, and they couldn’t go back to New York to get them.

Instead, the couple bought a bubble waffle machine and began recreating the dessert at home for fun.

“The smiles that we gained made us realize we needed to bring this iconic dessert to the Upstate,” she said.

The Corderos followed their families’ move  to Greenville in late 2020.

Cordero is a native of Ecuador and moved to New Jersey with her family when she was 8. Her husband, Ismael Cordero, moved from Mexico to New York with his family, also at the age of eight.

Cordero’s brother and his family moved to Greenville first. Her parents later followed.

Cordero’s mother had been the caregiver for her children, two at the time, while she worked. She gave birth to her third child in New Jersey just before Covid hit.

Facing the potential expense of childcare and lack of nearby family, the Corderos took a leap of faith.

“It was in my heart that this is what we have to do,” Cordero said. “We both quit our jobs and came here.” 

They lived briefly with her parents. Shortly after their arrival, Ismael Cordero found a job in his field of hotel management. Lina Cordero works part time in retail.

Soon, the family was able to buy their first home in Simpsonville.

“This was our dream to own a home for our children,” Lina Cordero said.

Another dream had been to open a Mexican food truck upon their arrival in Greenville. Back in New Jersey, they were making and selling food to close friends and anyone interested, Cordero said, getting feedback.

“We came here and there were so many Mexican food trucks and restaurants,” she said. “We were discouraged. We were like, ‘What are we gonna do now?’”

The inspiration followed their bubble waffles making at home. They decided to take their creations out into the community.

Falling under the South Carolina Home-Based Food Production Law, referred to as Cottage Food Law, the Corderos traveled to local farms, fairs, breweries, and subdivisions setting up a table tent selling the bubble waffles and waffle sticks. 

“The feedback was great,” Cordero said. “Nobody here knew what a bubble waffle was. They were like, ‘Oh my God, what is that?’” 

“Honestly, that’s how we were when we first saw it, when we’d never heard of a bubble waffle or a waffle stick. It’s the cutest concept of a waffle. Kids and adults love it.”

The concept was invited to compete for funding in the $30K PowerUp Competition. Presented by Integrated Media Publishing and Erik Weir, the competition is offering South Carolina startups chance to win up to $15,000.

Cordero applied for the program after being encouraged to do so, via email, by Evelyn Lugo, president and founder of the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

She is “very proud and grateful to even have the opportunity to run for this competition.”

If she selected as a winner in the $30K PowerUp Competition, Cordero said the funds would go into growing her business. She’d love to eventually open a second Waffle Drop, perhaps in Clemson.

Her ultimate goal is to be financially stable to where she can stay at home and be with her girls.

“All the money in the world doesn’t mean anything if I’m not able to do what I want to do, and what I want to do is be at home with my children 24/7.”