The Dolly Llama announced Ponte Vedra Beach as the next opening as part of the concept’s current 40-store national expansion plan. This opening marks The Dolly Llama’s entry into the Sunshine State and will be fueled by husband and wife duo Josh and Wendy Popkin. Projected to open within the next month, the shop will be located in the center of the Ponte Vedra beach commercial district at 830 A1A North #16 within the Tournament Plaza.
“Our family is originally from Los Angeles and learned about the Dolly Llama through our son, who happened to be in school with the co-founder’s daughter,” says Josh Popkin, co-franchisee of The Dolly Llama Ponte Vedra Beach. “Co-founder Eric Shomof’s daughter would bring waffles and ice cream in for the class and our son would ask outside of school if we could visit The Dolly Llama. Not knowing the connection, we became frequent customers at the Koreatown location and later learned that Eric was the owner! We moved to Florida about a year ago, sold our accounting and bookkeeping practice, and were eager for a new venture. Both Wendy and I have experience in the restaurant and customer service industries so when the idea of franchising The Dolly Llama came up, we thought it would be a great idea. We love the product and unique flair that the brand is known for, and we are confident that this great beach community will love a fun dessert destination for locals and tourists alike.”
The Dolly Llama is exploding throughout the United States with several units under construction and in the works. Along with the Ponte Vedra Beach location, the concept is entering Nevada within the next month with locations in Las Vegas as part of a 5-unit deal. The Dolly Llama hopes to have a handful of other locations opened by the end of the year. Additional multi-unit deals that have been signed include Winter Garden, Dr Phillips, and other North, Central and South Florida regions; Las Vegas, Nevada and Houston and Beaumont, Texas.
“Having had a personal relationship with Wendy and Josh prior, with our kids once being in the same class, presented a unique opportunity to do business with friends, and I couldn’t be more excited for the duo to launch in a brand new market,” adds co-founder Eric Shomof. “Josh has been a restaurateur before, having once co-owned three restaurants in Georgia, and Wendy’s background as a CPA and in business coaching creates a wonderful partnership and recipe for success. I have no doubt that the Ponte Vedra Beach, and greater Jacksonville community, will fall in love with the waffle and ice cream concept because a no-brainer combo is the beach and ice cream.”
The Dolly Llama was designed to be a modern dessert shop where all guests can enjoy hand-crafted waffles and ice cream in a cool, hip and fun environment. The concept’s success can be, in part, attributed to its innovative and artisanal menu, but also the unique experience of visiting The Dolly Llama locations is what makes the shops a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. The currently open four Los Angeles and Dallas locations share an unparalleled aesthetic flair and insta-worthy design features such as large neon signs, iconic llama footprints and bubble-waffle shaped prints along the walls, of which the future franchised locations will also mirror.
The brand prides itself on offering authentic European flavors and techniques, such as Belgian waffles using traditional methods, and the Hong Kong Bubble Waffle prepared with a special batter that produces a unique crispy and custard-like texture. The three unique waffle styles—OG Liege Waffle, Bubble Waffle, and Bubble Waffle Jr—are the base of the interactive menu of ‘Top Picks’ waffle and ice cream desserts, ice cream waffle sandwiches, and a ‘Build Your Own’ menu, where customers are encouraged to “go nuts'' with unlimited toppings resulting in endless flavor possibilities and combinations. Signature Shakes are another over-the-top brand staple.
The Dolly Llama currently operates three locations in greater Los Angeles and one location in Dallas