According to Martha Ware, the thought that led to the creation of her business was simple: The store-bought marshmallows she tried just did not taste as good as they should.

Since she came to that realization a little more than two years ago, Ware has created her own marshmallow recipe, which she sold in mall pop-up events before she branded and opened Mallow Box, a gourmet marshmallow dessert bar, at The Shops at Willow Bend in late 2019. A second location opened in August at Legacy Food Hall.

Both locations offer nine staple marshmallow flavors as well as seasonal options and a variation of s’more-inclusive treats, such as a make-it-yourself s’more bar, marshmallow skewers, s’more bowls and marshmallow milkshakes. Mallow Box also offers other hot and cold drinks and desserts, such as brownies and cookies.

Innovation for these treats is ongoing, Ware said. Each month, there are highlighted shakes, and new flavors and treats are created for holiday seasons and other special events.

This fall, Ware created a State Fair shake with popcorn and chocolate-dipped bacon on top. And on Dec. 19, Mallow Box will have a marshmallow decorating station as well as decorating kits available for purchase throughout the holiday season.

“It’s a lot of fun. ... I have people who come here very frequently,” Ware said. “If they wish to try something different, we’re going to have options.”

Foot traffic varies between the mall and the food hall, with more families at Willow Bend and more of a young, food-minded crowd at Legacy Hall, but in both places, Ware said, people will come directly to Mallow Box for treats.

“Many times, what happens is people come with their phones, and they get the photo on Instagram and say, ‘I want this,’” she said. “Sometimes, they don’t even know what that is. It’s, like, the funniest thing.”

Ware attributes her fast-growing following not only to her background in marketing but also to her willingness to say “yes” to opportunities. Without that mindset, Ware said, she might have said “no” to the original pop-ups that got her started or to opening a new store during a pandemic.

“My dad used to tell me, ‘Opportunities don’t come twice,’” Ware said. “The opportunity was there.”

Mallow Box

1. The Shops at Willow Bend, 6121 W. Park Blvd., Plano

Hours: Sun. noon-5 p.m., Wed.-Thu. noon-5 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-6 p.m., closed Mon.-Tue.

2. Legacy Food Hall, 7800 Windrose Ave., Plano

Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.