A Campbell County man is enjoying a sweet second act as the owner of an award-winning food truck.
Marty Meersman, owner and artisan of Marty’s Waffles, comes to the food truck profession after a 16-year teaching career as a college professor, both in Minnesota and Kentucky. Marty’s Waffles started as a labor of love with a great recipe, “we’d tried some waffles in town and we really liked them but we thought we could make them even better,” Marty said.
In 2009, Marty and his family happened upon a local Belgian baker where they sampled a traditional Liège waffle, a dough-based waffle recipe originating in the town of Liege, Belgium. From the very first bite, Marty was obsessed. A few weeks later, he received a waffle iron from his sons for his birthday. So began his insatiable desire to make the perfect waffle.
Marty went to work honing his recipe. He said it took him 2,000 attempts to get the waffles where he wanted them to be. With his waffle game strong, Marty began sharing his waffles with folks around town. People started to ask where they could buy them.
In August of 2011, he bought a used step van. Marty and his right hand man, Pete Hall, began transforming the truck into health department-approved kitchen on wheels. Fortunately for Marty, his wife Julie, a professional graphic designer, took on the job of branding the company and designing the food truck. The truck launched in August 2013.
We caught up with Marty while he was serving an afternoon, pre-meeting snack to some very lucky employees at Darling Ingredients in Cold Spring. “We always bring in a treat for our quarterly meetings,” Kim Martin of Darling Ingredients said. Bringing in the truck is just one part of their commitment to treating their employees well. Kim says the company caters in lunch each day for their staff of over 100.
For Darling Ingredients employees, the #1 seller was the Sea Salt Caramel with Fresh Makers Mark Bourbon Whipped Cream. Marty’s take on this classic flavor combo has a salted bottom with the caramel generously drizzled on top. The side of bourbon whipped cream adds a beautiful dimension of flavor that stays true to the truck’s Kentucky roots.
You can buy Marty’s Waffles any time at Folk School Coffee Parlor in Ludlow or at any of the three Barleycorn’s locations. Be sure to catch Marty’s Waffles this spring at food truck rallies around the area. If you want to know where the truck will be next, check out his website, http://www.martyswaffles.com.
Marty’s tips for food truck success
Do a lot of research before you begin.
Be ready to work hard. Marty could work 80 hours in a 3 day weekend.
Budget for 25% more start up expenses than you think.
Hire good, friendly people with a sense of humor.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of “NKY Business Journal.”