The interior of Austin, TX’s Wild Chix & Waffles, the café Wendy Wu owns, represents all of the European, Asian and North American design styles Wendy loves most. The look is casual, laid-back and uncomplicated. At least now it is. The process of infusing the fried chicken joint with this global charm wasn’t quite as easy as she had hoped when she first set out to open shop. In fact, after running the numbers on a few of the decorative elements Wendy wanted to implement, some initially seemed downright impossible to pull off.
Instead of compromising her creative vision for the southern-style café, Wendy decided to take on some of the more artistic elements herself. Over the course of a year she hand-painted a collage of American artists above the register, installed a traditional Japanese tatami den for kids to lounge in, and even gave the space some Parisian flair. The last of which, also painted by Wendy, comes courtesy of a larger-than-life mural of a demure girl enjoying a cup of coffee.
If you had asked Wendy on day one of the project if this much of the restaurant’s style would be brought to life by her own hand, she’d have emphatically replied, “No!” Looking back, though, she says taking the reins has taught her an extremely vital lesson: To stop underestimating herself. Wendy tells us, “I learned that as long [as] you put your heart into something you really love, anything is possible. Even things that you never thought you would be able to do.” Scroll down to check out all of the hard work Wendy has done to make her life’s dream a reality. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography by Jessica Attie