Holy bowly: Eatery with just one menu item to open in Williamsburg

Portland, Ore., eatery The Whole Bowl offers its sole menu item — a hearty rice and bean bowl — in four different sizes.
The Whole Bowl

Here’s some food for no thought!
An upcoming Williamsburg diner will open on Nov. 11 with only one dish for sale, making it the perfect choice for diners who don’t like making decisions, according to the founder.

“A lot of times people get overwhelmed by choices and If I just make one good product that appeals to people’s dietary restrictions across the board,” said Tali Ovadia.

The vegetarian food vender, called The Whole Bowl, only sells bowls filled with brown rice, avocado, black and red beans, Tillamook cheddar, black olives, sour cream, cilantro, salsa, and the eatery’s signature lemon-garlic Tali sauce, which is based on a secret recipe that took years to perfect, Ovadia said.

“The whole bowl is just a vehicle for the sauce, its what differentiates it from any old rice and bean bowl,” she said.

Employees for the chain, dubbed “bowlistas,” can also use all-vegan ingredients and add extras such as tortilla chips. cookies, or drinks.

Ovadia came up with the minimalist menu out of necessity when she started selling the bowls from a 5-by-2-foot food card on the streets of northwestern hipster enclave Portland, Oregon in 2001, and she hasn’t altered a single ingredient in the 18 years since.

“Nothing has changed,” she said. “It’s that thing, ‘If it ain’t broke’ — and it wasn’t.”

There are four bowl sizes, starting at the 12 ounce “Bambino Bowl” for $8.95, the 16 ounce “Big Bowl” for $9.95, the 24 ounce “Insatiabowl” at $11.95 and the larger “Hyperbowl” that can feed between eight to 10 people for $69.95.

The north Brooklyn bowlery — located next to the renowned local dive bar Rocka Rolla at the corner of Rodney Street — will have seating for 17 customers across 850 square feet of space.

And if you want to give their bowl a try, pop over on their opening day, when they will be giving out their first 50 bowls for free, with a one-bowl limit per person.

Don’t think too hard at The Whole Bowl [488 Metropolitan Ave. between Rodney Street and Union Avenue in Williamsburg, www.thewholebowl.com, (347) 599–1717]. Open daily from Nov. 11, 11 am-10 pm. Bowls $8.95–$69.95.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
The bowl has a simple list of nine ingredients, which are vegetarian, nut- and gluten-free, and can be “veganized” to suit a broad range of dietary restrictions.
The Whole Bowl

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