CAMDEN—The concept is simple—bowls of flavorful plant- and meat-based meals sourced locally.
That’s the concept behind Long Grain’s sister restaurant BOWA at 31 Elm Street in Camden.
Run by business partner and chef Cortney Sukeforth, along with Long Grain partners Paula Palakawong and Bas Nakjaroen, out of the former tiny Long Grain space, the eatery was tailor-made for the kind of takeout model imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The menu is a compilation of around-the-world cuisine with Thai, Cuban, Mexican, Korean, and California flavors which are built in layers: nutritionally dense organic grains, local, organic vegetables, and power salads, topped with either tofu, tempeh or protein.
“Essentially we wanted to include the best of what’s around in terms of ingredients that we could source organically and locally in order to work with our local farmers,” said Sukeforth. “But then the BOWA concept also extended to the cultural side of the flavors we wanted to offer.”
Once people get used to the concept—realizing as one customer did that the Fish Taco dish, made with local fried haddock, didn’t actually come in the form of shelled tacos, but rather, in a power bowl of organic quinoa, red and green cabbage slaw, and romaine lettuce, with all of the fixings—it is easier to understand. These bowls may not look like some of their traditional counterparts, but every bite has the authentic, rich flavors, one has come to expect from that culture’s cuisine. And, one bowl is easily enough food for two people to share.
Sukeforth said that the summer and fall bounty from certified MOFGA farms they source from, such as Dooryard Farm in Camden, Erickson Field from Rockport, and Morning Dew in Damariscotta, is plentiful right now. Come winter, they’ll still try to buy from local greenhouses.
“Even down to our grains, we get all organic grains,” said Sukeforth. “I think it’s always important to know what’s going into your food and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
BOWA has operated fairly under the radar since February 2021, when they first opened. They were experimenting with a total vegetarian and vegan menu at first, along with the takeout model. But, in the last six months, they have adjusted their menu to accommodate meat-eaters. For now, the space is only order-in and in-person take-out, but Sukeforth said she envisions a time when a few indoor tables will be open as the restaurant takes its cue from the ever-changing coronavirus protocols.
“I think people have really enjoyed the option of ordering online, coming in after work, and picking up different flavored bowls for their family members, so they don’t have to make it at home,” she said.
For more information and to see BOWA’s menu visit BOWA
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org