Taking inspiration from Japan’s taiyaki fish-shaped waffle cone, Rachel Kanter, owner and founder of Sweetosaur, brought the Wafflesaurus Rex to life. The fluffy, cake-like dessert shaped like a Tyrannosaurus rex is served with ice cream in its mouth, while its body can be held like a cone.

“When I look for ways to differentiate ourselves from other businesses, it’s always about how I can take inspiration from something but then turn it on its head and make it almost completely unrecognizable from the very thing that inspired it,” Kanter says.

The dinosaur-themed concept that has a truck, two brick-and-mortar locations, and another store on the way is based in the highly competitive Southern California market, where Kanter says setting oneself apart is key. Not only does a concept have to wow guests with Instagram-worthy treats, but those treats also have to taste great. “Otherwise they’ll come once to take a photo and never return,” she says of guests.

The menu features pun-happy, eccentric, and eye-catching creations, like the Ice Age mint chocolate chip milkshake topped with a heap of blue raspberry cotton candy, whipped cream, and sprinkles, and the Kawaii Crush with strawberry rolled ice cream, whipped cream, heart sprinkles, and mochi.

Looking to the future, Kanter sees customers requesting more vegan and lactose-free options. “I think we will continue to see an influx of creative and innovative concepts inspired by traditional Asian desserts make their way here to the U.S.,” she adds.

Desserts, Menu Innovations, Story