Splendid Oaks has quickly become a local, household name since its creation in 2018. Founded by a Baylor grad with a passion to build something unique for the community, Kevin DeVries pursued a dream of entrepreneurship and opened his Waco flagship store, selling artisan chocolates, in the fall of 2020.
Originally from Chicago, Kevin was drawn to Central Texas to attend Baylor University. Like many grads, he realized his love for Waco ran deeper than green and gold. While he had given up his childhood ambitions to work in professional sports, it took Kevin a moment to determine what type of degree he wanted to pursue. The future was unclear until he began to focus his sights on entrepreneurship.
“It was legitimately the first time in my life I truly enjoyed studying something. Before that when students would talk about their favorite subject I would think they were nuts. Like this is all school, how do you enjoy any of this? And then it clicked.”
The idea of Splendid Oaks first crossed his mind roughly one year before graduating, and
simply put, he ran with it. Starting small with class projects around the concept, Kevin moved onto larger scale tasks, such as learning the entire industry. He purchased two textbooks on chocolate, read them cover to cover, and started winging it. Our first taste of Kevin’s creation was at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. Then with the help of a few wonderful supporters in the community that allowed him to sell at their stores, Splendid Oaks gained traction.
Beyond the delicious flavor, and stunning artistry of the chocolates Kevin and his team prepare, is a true chemistry to their process. Crafted in small, precise batches using only the finest non-artificial ingredients, Splendid Oaks showcases decadent flavors and unique combinations that can’t be found on the grocery store candy aisle … and take 4 days to make! Starting from the outside and working their way in, items sit overnight after every step; from painting the molds on day 1, making shells on day 2, filling and piping on day 3, and capping them off on day 4 – Splendid Oaks strives for excellence through each point in the process.
If you’ve experienced a taste of what Splendid Oaks has to offer, it will come as no surprise that Kevin’s success has only grown since the launching of this concept. Coming in the fall of 2023, Splendid Oaks will expand to Woodway with a second location and begin offering its own artisan ice cream.
And while the development of ice cream is not nearly as involved as the chocolates, Splendid Oaks is still doing things to set themselves apart from the majority of the industry. Instead of utilizing one base for every ice cream flavor, Kevin has chosen to develop each recipe from scratch. This gives him more control over each individual flavor and allows for flexibility rather than starting with a base that would, in turn, be limiting.
“It is 100 times more work, but as an artisan shop we refuse to make compromises on our product. Rather than just having two, or maybe three, flavors that are really good because they happen to work with the same base, we will have the flexibility to balance each recipe to perfectly compliment the natural flavors in each mix.“
While the average daytime customer generally drops in for chocolates – whether as a special gift or returning with their box and utilizing the box refill discount – nighttime customers tend to enjoy an after-dinner ice cream on date night or with family. Splendid Oaks hosts an environment for anyone to enjoy; Kevin is proud to have created a space for a quick treat or a long stay.
When Kevin shares about his business, you can tell his passions are rooted in something deeper; Splendid Oaks is just the beginning – he has a heart for more. In time, the Waco community will have the opportunity to see more of the ministry goals of Splendid Oaks and hear about why the verse Isaiah 61:1-3 is an integral part of Kevin’s story.
For now, the Waco location is running business as usual and the Woodway location of Splendid Oaks is open with limited offerings and taste testing of trial batches. The Woodway GRAND OPENING will take place Saturday, September 2nd and is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Founder, Head Chocolatier
Splendid Oaks Chocolates
Waco Location: 1020 Franklin Avenue
Woodway Location: 135 Estates Drive