The Californian’s prayers have been answered by the Coventry owner to keep the food trade alive
A California street vendor’s prayers have been answered by a timely offer from a Coventry landlord. Harley St Leon is best known for his Yankees Waffle House business which operated out of his brightly colored van which was parked at Spon End.
The business turned out to be his salvation from a life of crime and violence that saw him serve time in prison, as he revealed to CoventryLive in October 2021. However, the brakes have been put on on this trip a month ago when the van he uses to serve his California cuisine was vandalized, with the repair bill running into the thousands of pounds.
The unique combination of “chicken and waffle” soul food has been temporarily removed from the menu. That was until Joe Haggarty, owner of The New Albany pub in Albany Road, came up with an offer.
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Joe said: “I had noticed the van hadn’t been there for a while and then I saw Harley and found out what had happened. We’re just around the corner and we have a £50,000 kitchen which is unused so we offered to let him come over and run his business from the pub.”
It was the one Harley grabbed and since late March, Yankees Waffle House has been open again in its new location. Harley said: “The catalytic converter was taken out of the van and they made a big mess on the underside of it too. It came at a really tough time because the winter weather was brutal for the cars as well. business – people don’t want to stand outside a van when it’s cold outside.
“Just when the weather was starting to change, it happened. But Joe and the good people in Albany made that offer and answered my prayers. The old me would have reacted very differently. I’m trying to ‘to be a role model for people with a difficult past who are trying to change their lives.
Yankees Waffle House has crafted a menu for the new venture that includes Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles, Bubba Shrimp, “Big Drip Burger”, Philly Cheesesteak and Chicken Wings. They operate from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Friday before operating at the same times on Sunday.
“We’re thrilled to have Harley on board and help out when needed,” added Joe, who runs the business with partner Bianca Owen. “He’s cooked up a fantastic menu and now it’s just about getting people to try it for themselves.”