Long Island’s delicious dessert craze is buttering up Nassau county. More than a year since its opening, Costa Nova Waffle in Mineola continues to deliver authentic Portuguese-style soft and crispy waffles stuffed with savory or sugary fillings.
Owners and cousins Andrea Alves Fernandes, Monica Oliveira, Andre Oliveira and Amanda Alves were inspired by the family’s summers spent in Costa Nova, a beachfront town in the Aveiro region of Portugal. Beautiful beaches and brightly colored pinstriped houses line the coast of Costa Nova. It’s a destination for tourists of all kinds, but the locals know the real gem is the Bolacha Americana kiosk that serves up fresh waffles to long lines day in and day out.
“We always thought it was funny, the Bolacha Americana translates to ‘American cookie,’ meanwhile it didn’t exist in the States,” said Monica.
The Bolacha is an 18-inch round, thin, crispy waffle served with various fillings. Also popular is the Tripa, a soft, crepe-like version of the waffle folded square and usually stuffed with an Aveiro-authentic sweet egg custard sprinkled with cinnamon called “ovos moles.”
Costa Nova serves a sundry of “make your own” options, stuffing their Bolacha and Tripa waffles with PB&J, candy bars, Nutella, marshmallow and more. The eatery also sells unique goods imported from Portugal, as well as coffee and European style lattés.
The idea to serve these sweet treats closer to home came during a low-point for the family. Andre and Monica’s mother had been battling leukemia for several years when they decided to bring the Costa Nova Bolacha Americana across the Atlantic. “We’d always joke around about quitting school and selling waffles for a living,” said Monica. “But when our mom got sick, we’d use this idea to motivate her and encourage her. Once we’d graduated college, we started thinking about ways to really do it.”
The cousins experimented, selling waffles at Portuguese fairs in New York to rave reviews and three-hour lines. “That’s when we realized we could really do this,” said Monica. “We partnered up and moved forward together to open a permanent location after doing a few more local fairs.”
Since their mother’s leukemia is now in dormancy and the shop is receiving rave reviews from customers, the family plans to find ways to grow their concept. Wholesaling, multiple locations and expansion are all ideas on the table, but for now, the Oliveira and Alves cousins are happy to continue serving Bolachas and Tripas to the locals here on Long Island.