The Star Democrat

From food truck to cafe

Yo Java Bowl opens doors

- BY LUKE PARKER lparker@chespub.com

CHESTER — The Yo Java Bowl operation completed its migration from an express food truck to an open-for-business cafe Tuesday, Dec. 7, with its new shop in Chester.

“For lack of a better definition, we’re excited,” said co-owner Rick Coulby, who runs the shop with his wife Valerie. “We’ve hoped to be on Kent Island for many years. The perfect opportunit­y came up and, not to sound corny, but we share that excitement with the community.”

Founded in 2019, Yo Java Bowl has operated as a food truck service available throughout Queen

Anne’s County. With two trucks on staff and another trailer down the road in Chester – which have shut down for the winter – the small business specialize­s in healthy, fruit- and superfruit-based items like smoothies and acai bowls.

Taking over the casual Abruzzi Drive location previously occupied by the Bada Bean Coffee Shop, the bigger space has allowed Yo Java Bowl to expand its menu. With dine-in tables, booths and couches — the comfortabl­e décor “is a reflection of all the things we like,” Rick said — customers can enjoy an assortment of sandwiches, salads or paninis.

Hoping to “push the envelope” with their bigger

operation, the Coulbys said that in addition to selling “the tuna salad your mother used to make,” Yo Java Bowl will be experiment­ing with difference recipes to garnish traditiona­l items, such as a cranberry pecan chicken salad.

A to-go counter by the register has pastries, premade soups and other lunch items for customers who want to pop in and out.

The Coulbys, who also operate the Commerce Street Creamery in Centrevill­e,

said they wanted to serve early morning appetites, as well. In addition to selling Rise Up Coffee,Yo Java Bowl has a collection of breakfast bowls, wraps, bagels and sandwiches available for purchase, as well as a collection of a-lacarte options.

“We use bacon in all the right ways,” Rick said. Bacon pops up on breakfast sandwiches, as an add-on to wraps, and, of course, alongside lettuce and tomato.

In their short time in Chester, the owners said

they’ve already adapted to the needs of their new market. For instance, they’ve added a coconut base to their famed, titular bowls and are planning on eventually incorporat­ing a “green” base as well.

“We love feedback and criticism of all types,” Rick said. “The worst thing in the world is not knowing when you’ve done something wrong, because we want everyone to have a good experience.”

The Coulbys said they’ve taken feedback from some of their already

establishe­d “regulars,” health food enthusiast­s and vegans whose diets are unfamiliar to them but whose needs they plan on accommodat­ing.

“We want to broaden that side of the business, expand our items in that category,” Rick said.

Yo Java Bowl is hiring. To apply for a full or parttime position, message the company on Facebook or apply in person. Interested applicants can also email the Coulbys directly at yojavabowl@gmail.com.

 ?? PHOTOS BY LUKE PARKER ?? L-R: With Yo Java Bowl in Chester, co-owners Rick and Valerie Coulby opened their second dine-in restaurant in Queen Anne’s County. The husband and wife also operate the Commerce Street Creamery in Centrevill­e.
PHOTOS BY LUKE PARKER L-R: With Yo Java Bowl in Chester, co-owners Rick and Valerie Coulby opened their second dine-in restaurant in Queen Anne’s County. The husband and wife also operate the Commerce Street Creamery in Centrevill­e.
 ?? ?? Yo Java Bowl opened a dine-in restaurant Tuesday, Dec. 7 at the Red Apple Town Center in Chester.
Yo Java Bowl opened a dine-in restaurant Tuesday, Dec. 7 at the Red Apple Town Center in Chester.

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