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RETAILER TALES: Cole’s Palette


Tinkering with DRY’s Store Locator for any length of time, you’ll find DRY Soda carried in some pretty amazing independent cafes, restaurants, grocery stores and more. Each of these places has a story, so we’ve set out to bring you the best of these entrepreneurial endeavors to you in Retailer Tales.

Today’s Tale: Cole’s Palette

Chatting with: Cole Whaley, founder and owner

Location: Silver Spring, Maryland

Specialty: Sweet and savory waffles; doing the basic things differently

It’s been said that the simplest things in life bring us the most joy, and for chef Cole Whaley’s first dive into the restaurant world, you can’t get much simpler a joy being slung from a food truck:

Waffles. Pure, simple, delicious.

Cole’s Palette – also the name of Whaley’s catering business – is a food truck that patrols several areas of south Maryland serving up gourmet sweet and savory waffles. On the sweet side, you’ll see such items as red velvet waffles with cream cheese frosting. On the savory side, you have a choice between jumbo lump crab or classic fried chicken with your waffle. You can make your savory waffle a combo by adding DRY Soda and popchips.

“Most people start a restaurant by thinking of what they want to do, then finding a space,” Whaley explains, “but I wanted to find a great space and then figure out what would work well in the area.” This was the guiding hand behind the decision to open Cole’s Palette and his new restaurant Cafe Rue. Do the basics, but do them differently. In an area with Subway sandwiches and plenty of places to get fries, Cafe Rue offers traditional European paninis and truffle fries.


The operation may seem simple enough, but that’s right where it gets technical. “The number one thing I learned in school was technique,” says Whaley, “so I do everything I can to bring a culinary flair to even the most basic, traditional food items. It’s really all about doing things that other restaurants could do, but choose not to because of time or money. It’s all in the small culinary techniques.”

This means putting eggs and butter into the waffle batter instead of water, taking three hours to cook Cafe Rue’s french fries twice instead of dumping a bag of frozen ones into a deep fryer, and the list goes on. It was for this same reason that Whaley brought DRY Soda on board. “It’d definitely be easier and cheaper to bring in Coke, but it just made so much more sense to bring in something new and different like DRY Soda.”

Whaley says his detail, technique-focused cooking was also influenced by his mother. “My mom was a scratch-cooking type. Watching her cook and helping her out all the time, I always wanted to emulate the things I saw her doing.”

With the way Whaley chooses to treat the people he serves and the meals he creates, any mother would be proud.

Whether at Cole’s Palette or Cafe Rue,  it’s all about doing the basics, but doing them differently.

You can track down Cole’s Palette by following along on Twitter, or sit down at Cafe Rue at 11120 Baltimore Avenue Beltsville, MD (Facebook)

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