A vegan food truck in Oklahoma was a pretty wild concept when The Loaded Bowl opened for business in 2013. But with menu items like layered enchiladas, buffalo mac and cheese and cupcakes, it didn’t take long for the people of OKC to get on board.
Vegan Food, Minus the Salads
When Tevin and Jon Grupe opened the Loaded Bowl food truck, they wanted to create more vegan options for Oklahoma City. The goal was to make vegan food more approachable. Loaded Bowl’s motto is “good food, first”. They goal is to create delicious, comfort food recipes using plant-based foods and ethically sourced ingredients.
“We focus on comfort food because we think it is an easy in for people who think of the word ‘vegan’ as being scary,” said Tevin. “Our menu doesn’t have a single salad on it and that surprises a lot of people.” The menu does include a cashew mac and cheese, mashed potato bowls, loaded nachos, a variety of fresh pastries and even a hearty lasagna. It’s easy to see why the so many their customers aren’t even vegan.
Getting the Word Out
After making trips with the truck to Edmond, Stillwater, Norman and Oklahoma City they participated at the first H&8th Night Market. Tevin and Jon were blown away by how large the event was and how many other food trucks there were in Oklahoma City. “It gave us so much visibility. There were so many people coming out to try something different because there were lots of options available.”
Being the only vegan food truck at the time helped them stand out to many of the festival goers. Each month the crowds at H&8th grew bigger and so did the following for the Loaded Bowl truck.
From Truck to Table
However, with limited options for vegan food in the OKC area, their followers, and even out-of-towners passing through OKC, started to reach out wondering how to find them. Realizing the limitations of the truck, the idea for a full brick and mortar restaurant started to take place.
With the help of a Kickstarter campaign in 2016, the couple set their sights on a store front in the Farmers Market District of OKC. “We just loved the area. It’s a really historic area that’s kind of a hidden gem in Oklahoma City,” Tevin added.
With the opening of the space in December of 2016, they were able to start serving their customers through the restaurant, food truck, catering, and wholesale ordering. The bright and airy restaurant features a full bar with options for cocktails, wine, beer and cider. The space has also allowed them to host weekly events ranging from bingo night to drag shows.
Forward-thinking businesses like Loaded Bowl continue to change the culinary scene in Oklahoma City, one food truck at a time.
Truck to Table is a series highlighting the growth and development of Oklahoma City food trucks and how many have opened brick-and-mortar locations. The Tasty Escape is partnering with Visit OKC to showcase the success stories for some of OKC’s most popular “truck to table” restaurants.