Gayle Troy might be starting small, but she has big ambitions.

Gayle Troy might be starting small, but she has big ambitions.

Troy, a former education executive and part-time baker, has opened What the Waffle in the Columbus Food Hub, the Olde Towne East incubator that once counted Hot Chicken Takeover as a tenant.

The Food Hub, 1117 Oak St. in Columbus, is a bare-bones building that helps food-service purveyors get their start. Entrepreneurs do mostly carryout business, though the building has some dine-in capacity.

What the Waffle has the morning shift and utilizes a drive-thru that has no intercom system. Instead, customers pull up to the window and place their orders.

Troy said she knocked on doors before the Nov. 7 opening to let neighbors know she was there.

"A lot of individuals didn't know this building was here and they live right on the next block," she said.

Troy said her goal is to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in two years. In the meantime, she will keep building the menu at What the Waffle.

Right now, she has three varieties of breakfast sandwiches made with homemade buttermilk waffles: bacon or sausage, egg and cheese ($4.25) and egg and cheese ($3.50).

"It's easy to-go (food)," she said. "It's filling. And there are great flavors in that without having to use a knife and fork."

The menu also features sweet breakfast waffles ($3 each), a savory bacon waffle ($3.75), hash browns ($2) and a popular sweet potato muffin ($1).

Troy said she supplemented her income by making the muffin for a few select coffee houses across town. Sales of the muffin, she said, helped put her daughter, Ray, through college.

She said she also offers an inexpensive "but quality" cup of coffee, a Columbian medium roast for $1.

Troy said she plans to add Saturday hours in the spring and such menu items as shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles.

Troy lives in Gahanna with her husband, Eric. She said she most recently was administrator of youth services for the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corp., a position that was phased out.

For a long time, Troy said, she baked and catered on the side. She said she has entered he next phase of her life, trying to build a legacy through food.

"I love it," she said. "Everything has a season, a time and a purpose."

What the Waffle is open from 7 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. All orders must be placed in person.

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Panera Bread is expanding its presence in south Columbus.

Covelli Enterprises Inc., the local franchisee of the casual restaurant chain, opened a Panera restaurant earlier this week at 611 E. Livingston Ave.

The 4,640-square-foot store is in the Nationwide Children's Hospital faculty office building, across from the main hospital. It is open to the public.

Panera Bread also took over the old Clarmont restaurant, 684 S. High St., three-and-a-half years ago.

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Native Cold Pressed is looking to open its third central Ohio location in German Village.

The organic juice company wants to be part of a new mixed-use development at Thurman Avenue and Jaeger Street. Representatives of the store are seeking approval of a sign from the German Village Commission.

Native Cold Pressed would join the new Fox in the Snow Cafe at the site. The original Fox in the Snow Cafe is in Italian Village.

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Block's Bagels will keep its Christmas tradition alive, albeit in a different location.

The deli at 6115 McNaughten Road will be open for Christmas on Dec. 25.

Previously, the holiday was celebrated at the Block's at 3415 E. Broad St., but that store closed earlier this year. A new Block's is expected to open in early 2017 at 3012 E. Broad St. near Bexley.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary