Bowls up

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David Minton/DRC
Annie and Kevin Vivorakij recently opened The Bowllery, a new Asian-fusion restaurant near the University of North Texas campus.

“We chose fresh,” reads the menu at a new Asian-fusion, vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Denton, The Bowllery.

The concept of the restaurant, located near the University of North Texas, is to avoid using processed ingredients whenever possible.

“We wanted to add more healthy options to the community of Denton,” co-owner Kevin Vivorakij said. “Me and my family and my daughter, usually we would cook at home. We like to cook brown rice and have soba. We are not vegan, but we eat more vegetables than meat.”

Kevin, 47, and his wife, Annie Vivorakij, 32, opened The Bowllery at the end of November. They said they had a soft opening at first and did little publicity to let people know they were in town.

“We are both new businesses owners; we have been learning as we go along,” Kevin Vivorakij said.

With a staff of seven, including the owners, the old Katz’s Hamburgers was turned into a new modern-Asian location that now has green colored walls, a silver-metal ceiling and checkerboard floors.

“We changed the [cream] wall colors and the tables,” Kevin Vivorakij said. “We didn’t do any changes to the floor or the ceiling. The countertop used to have a purple color and we painted it white. It seems like it goes well together. ”

As of March 1, the owners announced via their Facebook fan page that they were yet again working on their interior design of their business by borrowing a concept called “bricolage” — a French term used often in cultural studies that means creating something new by “using whatever comes to hand,” according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. They collected diverse tables and chairs from vintage stores, people’s homes via craigslist and furniture stores.

“We all see them as individual artwork pieces,” the owners wrote on their fan page.

If given an opportunity, Kevin Vivorakij does not mind sharing the mechanics of the ingredients in each of the bowls.

“Ginger apple and beef and carrots,” he said, about some of the bowls selections. “We use ginger because ginger is good for you.”

The menu’s main offering includes four types of rice and four soba (noodles) offerings. The “yogi” bowls, as they are known, can be prepared gluten-free vegan or vegan style.

“All the dishes have different sauces to go with them,” Kevin Vivorakij said. “When we created each of them, we had to know which sauce would go with what kind of vegetable, and we had to find out that some sauces would not go very well with some sobas and vice versa.” 

He said he makes the sauces himself.

The produce used at the restaurant is bought from local farms, he said.

Back in late January, the couple continued experimenting with different menu items and adding different juices.

Vivorakij said he decided to serve everything in a bowl, including the salads, and that inspired the name of the restaurant.

“It [the bowls] made me think of the name, we wanted something that went with the bowl and thought we were also an eatery, and we came up with The Bowllery,” he said.

Since launching the business, the couple have modified their work hours.

“We used to be here seven days a week, but now we close on Monday,” Annie Vivorakij said. “We decided we needed a day off.”

Kevin Vivorakij said he spends his day off looking for fresh produce.

When she is not behind the counter preparing an order, Annie Vivorakij greets customers at the door and explains how they can order and what kind of options are available.

“The restaurant business is long hours, but we enjoy it,” Kevin Vivorakij said.

Born in Thailand and raised in Hong Kong, Kevin Vivorakij moved to the United States in 1986. His wife is from Taiwan and they have been Sanger residents since 2009.

The couple married in 2007 and they have one child — 3 1/2-year old daughter Olive, who inspired the use of avocado in many of the restaurants’ bowls.

“She likes avocados a lot,” Kevin Vivorakij said. “That is why it is on the menu.”

Kevin Vivorakij has 24 years of restaurant experience. He has worked and owned a variety of restaurants of different specialties, among them a Chinese restaurant, a hamburger place and a seafood restaurant.   

On the business’ Facebook fan page, customers confess to visiting The Bowllery often. The most popular item on the menu is the Denton yogi bowl, a vegan soba noodle bowl with avocado, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, red onions, zucchini and served with a carrot miso sauce and topped with grilled sweet potato.

“I don’t know if it is because of the name that it is popular or because of the sauce,” Annie Vivorakij said.

Visiting the restaurant on Thursday, Paul Sangenito admitted he went to The Bowllery at least 15 times since he discovered the restaurant. That day, he switched from his grilled teriyaki chicken and steak ninja bowl to try the Denton yogi bowl.

“I found this place when I started my health kick, and I love them,” he said.

 

KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is kramirez@

dentonrc.com.

 

The Bowllery

Where: 901 Avenue C, Suite 101

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday

Details: Call 940-383-BOWL (2695) or visit http://thebowllery.com

 

 


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