Pitt students bring late-night waffles to Central Oakland

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Jaime Ely | Staff Photographer

One of the chocolate waffle options from South O Waffle Co., a student-run vendor located at 9 Cable Place.

By Grace Hemcher, Staff Writer

South O Waffle Co., a new student-run vendor located at 9 Cable Place, just made late-night snacks in Oakland a little bit sweeter with its new dessert waffle stand.

Senior mechanical engineering majors Hunter Biliouris and Jac Cornell were inspired to start their waffle stand based on a trip Biliouris took to Iceland a few years ago. On his trip, Biliouris discovered that waffles with ice cream and cereal were a big hit with the late-night crowd in Iceland, and decided to bring the idea to Oakland.

“We’ve done this before, made some waffles with ice cream and cereal, so that’s been going on the past couple years in college,” Biliouris said. “But this idea started after [Cornell] sent me a waffle maker and I said, ‘Jac, we need to talk, I think we have an idea here.’”

South O Waffle Co. is currently open 7-11 p.m. on Fridays and 9 pm-12 a.m. on Saturdays. But depending on turnout, Cornell said business hours could soon shift to later at night or expand into Thursday Nights as well.

“I think we could be convinced to get a Thirsty Thursday market,” Cornell said. “It’s really going to depend on how much time this semester gives us, but we could definitely consider some weekdays as the business continues to do well.”

The pair launched an Instagram profile for their business prior to their opening weekend and described plans to expand their media reach with additional platforms, such as Facebook and TikTok.

Cornell said their business was a cheaper and more convenient alternative to what he described as limited and pricey dessert options in Oakland.

“There is no late-night dessert in Oakland besides Insomnia Cookies,” Cornell said. “Which is way on the other side of Oakland and really expensive. I think we are a good alternative.”

Biliouris and Cornell wasted no time getting the supplies they needed to start their dessert stand. Cornell said that after coming up with the idea, the two friends were able to open the same week.

“The week that we came up with the idea, we opened,” Cornell said. “I think it was five days after we initially discussed, we instantly ordered all of the stuff on Amazon and were open that weekend.”

Cornell said the simple nature of the product was the driving force for how quickly and easily the roommates started up their business.

“None of this stuff was hard to get our hands on,” Cornell said. “And once we had the initial drive to do it, it all just fell together so fast that it was kind of hard to stop it.”

South O Waffle Co. functions from a simple setup. The two friends assemble a small table in front of their house every Friday and Saturday night with an electric waffle maker, their homemade waffle mix, a family sized tub of vanilla ice cream and various toppings.

There are just four items on the menu. Chocolate #1 and Chocolate #2 include one scoop of ice cream, chocolate sauce, and either Cocoa Pebbles cereal or chocolate chips and sprinkles. The other two items, The Rainbow and Cinnamon Crunch come with Fruity Pebbles or Captain Crunch with maple syrup. So far, Chocolate #2 has proven to be their best-selling item.

Luke Blascovich, a senior mechanical engineering major, stumbled upon the waffle stand while on his way to Frenchi’s Deli with a group of friends. Blascovich said he was pleasantly surprised by his experience there.

“I didn’t know what to expect from a South O ice cream and waffle stand at midnight, but it was pretty good,” Blascovich said. “The waffle was freshly made in front of me, the ice cream was kept cold. I was pretty content.”

When asked whether or not he would recommend South O Waffle Co. to his friends, Blascovich said he has already told a couple of people about the late-night waffle shop and will return himself.

Cable Place is a small Oakland side street between Atwood and Semple streets. According to Biliouris, most of their business comes from people just walking by and showing interest in their business. He also said Venmo is their preferred payment method since most college students use it.

“What student does not have Venmo?” Biliouris said. “And if you don’t, you are most likely not the kind of person who is walking around late at night.”

Even though they have only been open for a short time, Biliouris said he is excited about their new operation, and offered advice to other students who may be interested in starting up their own small business.

“Try your best, put in the work. If you don’t want it to happen, it’s not going to happen for you. We were motivated by having waffles in our apartment,” Billouris said. “But I would just say you gotta go out and get it. Get what you want, and just like school, you gotta work hard for it.”

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