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New build-a-bowl-style Thai restaurant opens in Clintonville

New build-a-bowl-style Thai restaurant opens in Clintonville

Jack McLaughlin

Say hello to Buddha Bowl, Clintonville.

Following a soft opening on Sept. 15, the new restaurant, located at 2973 N. High St., is now officially open for business.

And if the eatery looks a bit familiar, it’s not just you. Diners might recognize Buddha Bowl as the former site of a Basil Thai Cafe location. According to Rhome Ruanphe, owner of Basil Restaurants and Buddha Bowl, the spot originally opened last year as a Basil storefront before closing three months ago so the space could transition into Buddha Bowl.


He sees Buddha Bowl as the fast-casual, build-your-own iteration of Basil Thai Cafe.

“It was our original intent to open up a fast-casual version of Basil. With COVID-19, we just didn’t know when,” Ruanphae said. “We started to see a lot of traffic at [the Clintonville] space, and decided it would be the best spot to launch it.”

Ruanphe said Buddha Bowl opts for a more streamlined, customizable menu similar to other fast-casual spots like Chipotle or BIBIBOP Asian Grill, where diners start with a base dish and progress through an assembly line, giving them the freedom to create exactly the dish they want.

Customers start by picking either brown rice, white rice, or romaine lettuce. They can opt for coconut curry chicken, spicy basil chicken, cubed tofu and more as their protein section, before moving on to a dozen different fresh veggies. To complete their bowls, guests then select their preferred sauce, spice level, and garnishes.

And while Ruanphe says Buddha Bowl pre-prepares their wide variety of sauces to ensure speedy service, he says appetizers, including potstickers and crab cream cheese wontons, are still made-to-order.

“How it works, you orders appetizers when you get to the beginning of assembly, and by the time you build your bowl, typically they’re done too,” he said. “We tried out a few variations and this was one was the best.”

If you like this, read: Běndì Wok N’ Bar opens in German Village


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