Seven-year-old Kassie Isles of Kempner was all smiles at her birthday party at the Waffle Cone in Cove Terrace Shopping Center. As Ferris wheels carried the cupcakes for guests at each table, it was a carnival atmosphere to remember.
“We like the way (the owner) does everything. We just walk in and don’t have to worry about anything,” Ramona Isles, Kassie’s mother, said of the preparations for her daughter’s birthday. “We’ve been coming here since they opened three years ago with all six of our kids.”
Kassie’s father, Idris Isles, likes the no-mess, no-fuss method of dealing with his children’s parties.
“It is great,” Idris Isles said. “Just tell him what you want and it’s done.”
Owner John Hayes said the parties are turnkey in the parlor’s operations and account for only a fraction of the business.
“We have the space and we ensure our prices are reasonable. Just show up with your guests and presents, and we do everything else including the decorations,” Hayes said.
Cupcakes are served to guests on Ferris wheels for events with more than 12 party-goers and on a carousel table centerpiece for parties with fewer than a dozen guests.
Hayes is married to an active-duty soldier and has done his share of different jobs as the Army moved the family over the years.
“When we (moved) here, I tried a couple of different jobs,” said Hayes who previously worked for Coca-Cola.
“I decided to open my own business because there was no ice cream parlor in Cove.”
His business sense paid off. The Waffle Cone has the highest rating — 98 percent— of any Central Texas restaurant on both Yelp and Urban Spoon.
His daughter, Charley, 23, conducts the day-to-day business of the ice cream parlor. She also maintains a Facebook page where it advertises the two new flavors offered each week. Twenty-two of the 24 flavors available remain permanent.
The store offers 11 specialty sundaes, four banana splits and Charley’s latest creation: four different sundaes that come with fireworks sparklers.
Hayes said he expects to sell The Waffle Cone later this year when his wife of 25 years receives her final military orders from the Army and the family relocates one last time.
“I didn’t expect to leave here,” he said. “My wife is in her last duty station finishing her master’s degree in northern Virginia. Once she is done, I will be forced to sell The Waffle Cone.”