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, pre-made 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-la-carte 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 part-time position, message the company on Facebook or apply in person. Interested applicants can also email the Coulbys directly at email@example.com.