Building a bōl | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Building a bōl

In addition to its build-your-own-bowl dishes, bōl will also have blue-plate lunches and a salad bar this year.

In addition to its build-your-own-bowl dishes, bōl will also have blue-plate lunches and a salad bar this year. Photo by Imani Khayyam.

On the first floor of the Walter Sillers building in downtown Jackson, diners whip in and out of bōl on their way to and from work in their offices. For these guests, lunch is often compressed into a fraction of one hour. But for bōl owner, co-founder and General Manager Tammy Cotton, the experience of the restaurant has been months in the making.

Cotton says that the bōl concept is predicated upon the number of workers in the immediate vicinity in need of a fast, affordable lunch option.

"People in Mississippi are fickle about food," she says. "Either they're foodies, or they're just eating for economic reasons."

Cotton, a Jackson resident for more than 10 years, found herself invested in the local food scene after co-operating Pickett Farms, which supplied lamb to chef Tom Ramsey (currently of Stage pop-ups) at his previous downtown Jackson restaurant, La Finestra.

Ramsey and Cotton collaborated on the bōl concept, just steps from La Finestra's former location.

bōl offers a health-conscious menu based on the build-a-bowl concept--something Cotton describes as "Chipotle meets Genghis Grill." Starting with a base of rice, roasted potatoes or fresh greens, diners can choose from a rotating array of proteins, vegetables and other accoutrements.

Though the restaurant will keep the bowl aspect, Cotton says that she plans a re-brand for the new year based on customer feedback to her new and flexible concept.

Cotton says she doesn't want to compete with downtown restaurants such as Two Sisters' Kitchen, which is why at first she was hesitant to begin carrying blue-plate dishes. Ultimately, she decided to do them at bōl, with ones such as a smoked burger or chicken tetrazzini with a side salad, a roll and a drink. She says the specials are available on its Facebook each morning.

Another change that Cotton anticipates ("because the masses have requested it," she says) is the introduction of a build-your-own salad bar as an extension of bōl's existing format. It will open on Jan. 17, and the restaurant will still carry the bowl dishes for those who want them.

She says the restaurant will get busier now because that the legislative session has started.

"[W]e'll have lobbyists, (or) people that are up here just visiting their senator," she says. "They only have an hour for lunch; they'll just run over."

bōl (550 High St. 601-359-5513) from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for breakfast, and from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch Monday through Friday. For more information, find the restaurant on Facebook.


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