Waffle Bus Stop Inc. – Elevated Sweet and Savoury Waffle Creations

Nicole Broussard and Alexandre Calestagne had an original idea with their Belgian Waffle creations that are unique and made from scratch right in their very own kitchens. Together, they have overcome the challenges of being entrepreneurs while working day jobs and raising a young family. Broussard and Calestagne continue to provide a welcoming space for their customers and staff members while expanding their business and waffle creations.


Nicole Broussard and Alexandre Calestagne met in 2001 while planting trees in British Columbia. Born and raised in Antigonish, Nova Scotia Broussard was an Early Childhood Educator. Born in Montreal, Quebec but raised in Vancouver Island, British Columbia Calestagne moved to the East Coast with Broussard and taught French Language Arts. Together for almost 22 years, Broussard and Calestagne call Antigonish their home. Outside of their work life, they enjoy hiking, musical activities, and spending time with their two children.

Broussard started her entrepreneurial journey by selling crafts and handmade clothing at the Antigonish Farmer’s Market in the summertime. Not gaining the customer base she was hoping for, she started researching ideas on unique products to sell at markets. Noticing the lack of breakfast items within the market at the time, Broussard jumped on the opportunity to start something new. She began selling waffles at the market. But not the average North American batter-based waffle. She chose an authentic, dough-based Belgian waffle. Realizing how versatile it can be, Broussard & Calestagne said once they decided on the Belgian waffles, the ideas just kept flowing.

Authentic Belgian waffles have a yeast-based dough. This alone distinguishes them from most of the waffles on the market. Due to the yeast, it rises like bread or a pastry when it’s baked. The waffles work with both sweet and savoury combinations, making the food pairings endless for Broussard. It didn’t take long for this idea to take off, so Calestagne joined her in the waffle business. Together they began selling waffles and invested in a food truck in 2011. During summer break and on the weekends, Broussard and Calestagne took the food truck to various festivals, fairs, and markets to promote their business. Calestagne took a year’s sabbatical to work the food truck full-time. While the spring to fall worked well in the food truck, the winter was much too cold. They had to come up with a better plan.

Broussard had her eye on the perfect building for a brick-and-mortar location in Antigonish. This particular building caught her attention long before they ever planned to open a restaurant. After negotiating with the owner, Broussard and Calestagne bought the building and opened The Waffle Bus Stop Inc. in April 2015. Broussard left her previous job and took on the restaurant full-time. When they first started the business, there was nothing else quite like it. They had an original idea that people took to very well. Most of the business sales come from the savoury side of the menu. Once they discovered the dough waffles resemble bread, they began creating sandwiches with them. “It is a very labour-intensive product for sure. There are a lot of components that go into it, especially where we make almost everything from scratch” Broussard said. “That even includes the dough. Every single time you have a sandwich at our restaurant, that dough was made within 24 hours of you consuming the food” Calestagne added. There are only 5 ingredients in the dough, it is fresh with no preservatives.

While sourcing ingredients, Broussard and Calestagne keep everything as local as possible. “The shorter the distance your food has to travel to the kitchen, the less ecological impact you have on the environment” Calestagne explains. He goes on to say that they have a great relationship with Vacheresse Meats. “80% of our proteins are sourced from them. All the beef, chicken, pork, and eggs are from Antigonish County” he revealed. “I love to know where my food comes from. I love having our money go back into the local economy and support local entrepreneurs.” Calestagne said. The Waffle Bus Stop Inc was one of the very first restaurants in Antigonish to move to a completely ecological distribution model. “Everyone talks about how important the economy is. But if we don’t take steps towards minimizing our impact on the environment, we won’t have an environment to have an economy in. That’s something we’re very aware of” Calestagne remarked. There isn’t even a garbage can at their door because the cutlery, plates and everything in between is either recyclable or compostable. While it may cost more for the production of these products, Broussard and Calestagne say the added expense is worth reducing their environmental impact.

After years of learning on the fly and balancing time management as entrepreneurs with two children, Broussard and Calestagne opened a second restaurant in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. The previous owners had a very large, specialty bakery in this location. The space is quite a lot bigger than their Antigonish restaurant, seating more than double the number of customers. Broussard and Calestagne understand that many people were disappointed when the bakery closed, and they took over the space. But they are happy to see those customers coming in to see what they have to offer. “The reception has been so warm. We are humbled by how many people have been coming out. It’s good to see that we can take it to a different demographic and the people are really enjoying it” Calestagne said. They have noticed some New Glasgow locals talking about their products on social media. Calestagne said it’s been heartwarming to see the positive feedback on social media and the comments help them feel welcomed in the community. “The people really take pride in their town and the things it has to offer” he says. They have also lined up events in the New Glasgow area to take the food truck to this summer. They’re looking forward to exploring the area while expanding their business and meeting new people.

While the couple doesn’t like to compare the two towns because they are vastly different, they say they keep their business priorities the same in both places. It is important to them that every customer who walks in their restaurants feels welcomed. “We take orders by name so we can start to know our customer’s names when they walk in” Broussard explained. They maintain a comfortable atmosphere for people of all walks of life to enjoy a meal with them. “Customer service is really important to us” Broussard continued. “We give a lot of consideration to our customers, especially in their first experience to make it the best as possible.” Broussard and Calestagne say they look to hire those who can highlight both high-quality products and high-quality service at their restaurants. “We spend so much time with our staff that they do become like family. We take on their joys and struggles. We really value our team” Calestagne says. “It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.”

Along with remembering customer’s names, the staff at The Waffle Bus Stop Inc also keep a very detailed record of customer favourites. Some of the favourites include holiday waffle stuffing. They put waffles inside a turkey and made stuffing from that. The B.E.A.S.T which is an acronym for bacon, egg, aioli, spinach, tomato, and the Ranch Hand which consists of chicken, bacon and ranch waffle sandwiches are both best sellers. They have also had peanuts skewered shrimp satay with pulled steak on a waffle named Surf and Turf. And of course, the Elvis Presley which was a customer creation. It is peanut butter, fried banana, and bacon on a waffle. The creativity is never ending at The Waffle Bus Stop. Broussard and Calestagne encourage customers to share their creative waffle ideas with the staff. “Once you take the preconceived notion of what waffles are known to be, there’s very little you can’t do with it” Calestagne proclaimed. Since the products are made from scratch right in their kitchen, they have the ability to experiment with new ingredient combinations.

With lots to look forward to in the upcoming future, Broussard and Calestagne started by updating their food truck. “It’s a little bit different than our old food truck, it’s more of a food trailer that looks like a bus.” said Broussard. It will head over to the Antigonish Farmer’s Market as per usual on Saturdays, and it has many trips already planned for the summertime. But in addition to the food truck, Broussard and Calestagne have big plans for the business. They are hoping to host a couple of events during the summertime in conjunction with the food truck. They are also working towards expanding the product sales into grocery stores as well. “We sell our bulk waffles in our shops right now. So, people can come in, buy half a dozen or a dozen waffles, take them home and pop them in the toaster” Broussard said. “We’re working on getting our waffles into retail.”

Be sure to stop by The Waffle Bus Stop Inc. in Antigonish, New Glasgow, or anywhere the food truck stops to try their delicious and unique waffle creations. In the meantime, check out their social media platforms and follow along with their journey. With big plans for the future, there’s countless opportunities ahead of this entrepreneurial pair.

by Gabrielle Gamblin