Jason Bucknam, left, and Kevin Cunningham purchased their food truck from a man who would set up shop outside the paper mill in Jay. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

LEWISTON — Jason Bucknam describes waffles as breakfast-with-your-in-laws-on-Christmas-morning special. They’re portable. They pair with about anything — and they’ve got the divots to fit that anything in.

A waffle with chicken and Maine maple syrup at My Waffle. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Kevin Cunningham turned down his friend’s idea a year ago to open a waffle restaurant together and countered with his own.

“Kevin interjected the food truck and we literally stood up,” said Bucknam, 45, from Bowdoin. “We’re high-fiving each other, chest bumping. It was like we knew on that day we could be successful no matter what came our way.”

They fired up the My Waffle food truck last month with the goal of booking three events a weekend through the end of 2019.

Four events in, they said they’re working out the flow of who does what, booked up for the next month and having a great time.

“I’ve been (cooking) my entire life in hot sweaty kitchens, since I was 14,” said Cunningham, 46, from Lewiston. “There’s not a lot of people, ‘OK, I’ll spend the rest of my life in a truck with you.'”

They’re already hoping to add a second truck next year.

My Waffle co-owner Jason Bucknam is a beer salesman by day. Stickers from Maine breweries decorate the windows of the My Waffle food truck. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Bucknam works in beer sales and Cunningham is a chef at the Lobster Cooker in Freeport. They met years ago through work.

“Every time I saw this guy, he was happy to see me, big smile,” said Bucknam. “We’re just two gregarious guys who love laughing.”

A few conversations in, they decided they were serious about starting a business together and signed up for last winter’s Top Gun LA entrepreneur series. It gave them a lot of exposure — My Waffle made it to the statewide pitch contest but didn’t win — and “I learned a lot of stuff that I didn’t know I didn’t know,” Cunningham said.

They found their food truck, Sweet Melissa, in February online.

“We got a smoking deal,” said Cunningham. “Nobody was biting and it was the only truck in Maine ready to go.”

Inside, there’s two high-end, 9-inch Belgium waffle makers, a grill and deep fryer. So far, they’ve offered strawberry topping, blueberry lemon, Nutella, peanut butter and chicken, which is made fresh and breaded in the truck.

A waffle with strawberries and whipped cream is the top seller, said Kevin Cunningham. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

They’re using Maine maple syrup from Road’s End Farm in Canton and hope to introduce chocolate and gluten-free waffles in the next few weeks.

“We’re going to keep adding (toppings),” said Cunningham. “There’s nothing that says that we won’t be doing grilled chicken tenders and sweet chili sauce, lemon shrimp scampi. Nothing is off the table.”

At their largest outing to date, Street Eats & Beats, a food truck and music event at Thompson’s Point, they noticed, and noted, three or four customers coming back for more.

“There’s 20 other food trucks, just think about that,” said Bucknam. “I was excited. I yelled out the window, ‘They’re repeat customers!'”

They plan to keep a schedule of upcoming events on the My Waffle Facebook page. The truck will be in Lewiston on Friday during the Trek Across Maine block party.

They’re renting commissary space at the Agora Grand for prep and kitchen work.

Jason Bucknam, left, and Kevin Cunningham officially opened their My Waffle food truck on Memorial Day. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Both men have kept their day jobs and, if they’re overwhelmed at the idea of working 40 hours and following it up with events from Friday night to Sunday, they don’t show it.

“I’m a chef for a reason, I love food,” said Cunningham. “I love making people happy with food. I love the nuts and bolts of food, the math of it, the science of it. Making food is like my ultimate happy place.”

They said they’re ready, too, for the hot weather to hit and don’t plan to fill the food truck with fans to keep the working-with-deep-fryers-and-grills high temps away.

“We want to keep the waffles hot and fresh,” said Bucknam. “Kevin and I, we’re going to be hot and fresh, too.”

My Waffle food truck co-owner Kevin Cunningham plays with his children, Bailey, 3, and Jameson, 5, in their Lewiston yard. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

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