California waffles + ice cream franchise coming to Bethlehem

California waffles + ice cream franchise coming to Bethlehem

A Los Angeles, California ice cream chain known for its creative dessert concoctions soon will be serving up cool treats in Bethlehem.

The Dolly Llama plans to open in Bethlehem sometime by winter/spring 2022, however specifically where is yet to be announced by the chain. The franchise deal marks the brand’s entry into the Keystone State, where the local franchise will be owned by husband-and-wife team Jeff and Liliana Vasquez of Bethlehem. The pair are natives of Cali, Colombia.

The Dolly Llama currently operates three locations in the greater Los Angeles area — downtown; in Koreatown; and the Sherman Oaks section. Two additional Dolly Llama franchised locations are slated for Jacksonville, Florida and Tyler, Texas, by early 2022.

Jeff Vasquez said in a statement the city was chosen based on its historic charm.

“We love the great community here, so bringing a fun dessert shop like The Dolly Llama to our hometown is an exciting venture,” he said. “Waffles and ice cream together just make sense and there’s nothing quite like the concept in the area.”

A chain spokeswoman said the brick-and-mortar Bethlehem location will be anywhere from 800 to 2,000 square feet with the same layout as the California ice cream shops, as well as the same menu offerings found here.

The brand prides itself on offering authentic European flavors and techniques. The menu includes 16 ice cream flavors, including the traditional vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and such specialty flavors as salted caramel, matcha green tea and “ultimate cookie monster.” There’s also other traditional favorites, such as coffee and mint chocolate chip. Vegan options, such as “Sunset and Strawberry,” “Melrose Mint Chip,” and Killa ‘Vanilla,” also are listed on the menu from partner vendor, Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream.

Waffle sundaes and shakes are anything but traditional and more what some patrons would find as Instagram-worthy.

Guests can choose from these waffles styles: “OG Liege Waffle,” “Bubble Waffle,” and “Bubble Waffle Jr.” The OG Liege is a traditional Belgium-style waffle, which uses a secret 18th century recipe complete with chunks of pearl sugar. The Bubble Waffle resembles a giant edible bubble wrap and hails from Hong Kong, in which the chain put a twist on the popular street treat with a signature recipe and a generous scoop of artisanal ice cream. The junior is a kid-friendly size of the Bubble Waffle.

Sundaes include the “Dolly’s Dream,” which includes choice of waffle, Ultimate Cookie Monster ice cream, strawberries, brownies and Nutella sauce; “Sugar N’ Spice,” which is choice of waffle, Horchata ice cream, speculoos (spiced shortcrust biscuit) cookie, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and caramel sauce; and “Party Animal,” choice of waffle, salted caramel ice cream, kinder bar, animal cookies, and chocolate sauce.

Shakes appear to be just as much over-the-top as the waffle sundaes.

Fan-favorites include the namesake, “The Dolly Llama,” made with Ultimate Cookie Monster ice cream, whole milk, Oreo crumbs, whipped cream, kinder bars and chocolate sauce; and the “Coffee Snob,” which is made from coffee ice cream, whole milk, speculoos sauce, whipped cream, speculoos crumbs and rainbow sprinkles. There’s also the “Cinnalover,” which includes Horchata ice cream, whole milk, speculoos, caramel sauce, cinnamon toast crunch and whipped cream; and the lighter take “Snow Storm,” which includes vanilla ice cream, whole milk, oreo crumbs, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, Oreo cookie and coco sprinkles.

Toppings include anything from fruit, such as strawberries and bananas; to candy, such as Snickers, M&Ms, gummy bears, and Reeses peanut butter cups; to cereal, such as Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruit Loops, and Captain Crunch. Sauces include milk and dark chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, maple syrup, and Nutella.

Patrons also are encouraged to “Build Their Own” concoctions of sundaes and shakes with choice of ice cream, toppings and sauces. There’s also mini OG boxes available of waffles and toppings and a mini OG ice cream sandwich on the menu.

The Dolly Llama’s signature shakes and pre-designed waffle and ice cream treats are currently listed for $10. The “By the Scoop” and “Build Your Own” menu starts at $5 but averages approximately $10-$15, depending on the toppings and sauces added.

The Dolly Llama chain was founded in 2017 by real estate leader, Eric Shomof, and Samuel Baroux, a European entrepreneur and restaurateur who wanted to bring his passion for food and dessert to the U.S. The name was inspired by a real llama Baroux encountered on a farm in the South of France, and pays homage to Baroux’s home country.

The pair now have aspirations to grow their brand in the United States and prove “all waffles don’t need syrup,” according to the website.

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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at

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