Regions Shenandoah Valley

Customers aid restaurant’s expansion plan

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli

In deciding which tables to order for a new location in South Harrisonburg, the owner of A Bowl of Good Café called on her customers.  Should the restaurant order inexpensive tables from China or hire a local craftsman to make them?

The owner, Katrina Didot, preferred the second option but told customers in a blog entry on the company website the café would need help.

A Bowl of Good was able to raise half the $20,000 needed for the locally made tables by getting customers to buy gift cards. In addition, two restaurant employees were hired to make 500 bowls for the new location. Other local artists contributed by painting the wooden tables’ inlaid tiles.  Didot called the solution a “win-win” situation. The café was able to support local artists in furnishing its new location, which opened in November.

Didot started the restaurant in 2005 without a lot of capital. A Bowl of Good initially was housed in a health-food store where it sold wrap sandwiches, soups, salads and homemade bread. When the rent rose in 2006, Didot moved out, selling her food at local farmers markets. She opened A Bowl of Good’s first location in 2009.

The restaurant serves meals in a bowl, including classics like spaghetti and meat sauce and mac and cheese as well as food inspired by Didot’s brushes with other cultures. She’s lived in Guatemala so there are Latin American options such as the Bowl de la Milpa, which includes black beans over rice topped with salsa, sour cream and avocado. Dishes inspired by African, Asian and European cultures are on the menu, too.

In addition to a restaurant opening, Didot has another accomplishment to celebrate. In January, she was named The Entrepreneur of the Year by The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. The recognition felt like a “vote of confidence from the community,” Didot says, since it can sometimes be easy to doubt yourself as an entrepreneur.

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