My business is a small restaurant with a retail area. I make vegan wraps and soups, as well as hot sauces, jams, and other fermented and pickled items. I’m located inside NewBo City Market, which is an incubator space for new start-up businesses, many of which are food-based, but also include some retail and service shops. Last spring, I found myself unhappy and in a job that was no longer a good fit for me. I had been making various jams for friends when it was suggested to me that I start my own business. I was ready to be my own boss. I quickly put together a business plan, with the help of a mentor, and approached NewBo City Market for a space. I left my job and dove head-first into putting everything I had into the new business. Soon after, I was painting and getting the space ready for my new restaurant!
Our goal is to be connected with our food and cooking heritage. We are making things grandma would make, offering comfort foods, often with innovative new versions. We will build relationships with local farms, where possible, to continue the traditions grandma taught us.
We are also a minority, LGTBQ owned business, which is not common in Iowa. I want to help another minority, LGTBQ+, and disadvantaged businesses. Find LGTBQ businesses to shop at.
I’m an Iowan. I wasn’t raised on a farm, but lots of my family members and friends were farmers. So, farm culture is ingrained in me. From a young age, I watched my grandma and great-grandma cook Sunday dinners and became entranced. Everyone gardened every summer. We spent days preserving the harvests. I shucked a lot of corn and snapped a lot of beans. We also raised chickens to be used for food. Doing all of this was a group effort, so it takes a village, as they say. Today, the smell of pickling, especially cucumbers and beets takes me right back there to all of it.
What I’m doing with this business is taking that heritage and bringing it to a shop where I can share it with everyone. So many people are now interested in fermenting and canning. They can visit me and ask questions, as well as buy my products. I’m also feeding people my food, which is another passion of mine.