Get your taste buds tingling because Good Bowl food cart is set to re-open in just a few weeks! Fully licensed with a fresh stamp of approval by Astoria City Planning Commission, customers will be able to find Good Bowl’s delicious twist on rice and bean bowls at their new location, 11th and Duane along the Astoria River Walk. Owner and operator Olaf Ydstie is thrilled to re-open the cart and carve out his niche in the local food industry.
A native Astorian with a traveler’s heart, Olaf returned to his home-town after attending a musical program at a mid-western university. Working part-time at the Columbian Cafe, he pushed towards aspirations in music and kept this thumb on the beat of downtown Astoria. “I started working at the Columbian Theater when I was 14 and I’ve worked with the Columbian Café on and off for over 13 years,” Olaf explains. Eventually Olaf worked his way into the kitchen-side of the café and enjoyed food preparation, “I grew up here and honestly love it. But at some point I realized that if I wanted to stay here, which I do, I wanted to do something for myself by myself. I know how to play music, I know how to make food, but I’m not very good making money playing music. So when the food cart fell into my lap it worked out.”
After returning to town from a seven month cross-country bicycle trip that ended in a solo exploration of Iceland, Olaf came back to Astoria in time to partner up with Good Bowl co-founder Andrea. “We worked together at the café, played music together and it was a great partnership,” says Olaf. “A used food cart became available and we bought it together, gave it an overhaul as it sat in my driveway and then haphazardly opened mid-June 2015 at our original location at 13th and Duane across from the Astoria Co-Op.” With a straight forward, chalk-written menu of variations of rice and beans bowls and tacos, Good Bowl quickly became a local favorite.
The cart made a location-change to 11th and Duane and soon there-after partner Andrea decided to explore other career options. “She’s a power house,” explained Olaf. “I bought her out and she’s killing it in her career now.”
For two years Olaf explored menu variations and consumer feedback, tailoring his food and sourcing quality products. “Food wise the goal has been to make something simple and delicious that a person could eat a few times a week,” he says. “So we have a base of rice and beans, high-quality produce, locally-sourced chicken and eggs. Everything is fairly simple to prep, but I can eat it five days a week and not get tired of it.”
Quality product is the keystone of Olaf’s food philosophy. Sourcing product from local farms like 46 North Farm, Spring Up Farm, Melville Farms , local farmer’s markets whenever possible , and the Astoria Co-Op, “I like sourcing from local farms,” he adds, “fresh produce is superior in taste and I get to support my buddies. I like keeping it local, focusing on good food and supporting the community I’m in.”
For those who have missed Good Bowl, Olaf and the other food carts at the corner of 11th and Duane had to close temporarily and move-off premises while property management changed hands. While he has pushed forward with the cart, he has maintained his steady presence in the lively music community. A member of at least five different bands and assorted other musical projects, Olaf plans to tour musically throughout the year with bands including Milk, Monica and the Shy Boys, and Wave Action. “My favorite thing about the food cart is prepping early in the morning, with a cup of coffee and morning sunshine beaming in,” says Olaf. “Playing some good music and cooking the beans.”
Hearty, healthy, and astonishingly delicious Good Bowl classics such as the bowl and his ever-popular tacos will return in May 2018 at Good Bowl’s new location. This spring Olaf plans to open Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. and extend hours through the summer. You can follow Good Bowl on Instagram @goodbowl.