The tent, where ovens and rice cookers are plugged into extension cords, was supposed to be temporary. After a series of setbacks and financial losses with contractors, Roberts continues to stand outside serving food to patrons six hours a day. The time is restricted by a city code because she’s considered a mobile food business.
“I haven’t had to get loans, and for a single mom, that’s a big deal,” she said. “Luckily I have been able to stay afloat.”
The main obstacles for Roberts to move into the building have been complying with regulations enforced by the county health and building departments, according to Ryan Baker, Xenia community development coordinator.
“Overall, it’s just a tough spot. We do feel for her. She has a lot of community support. The products she serves are good. She’s just having a lot of problems getting that building ready,” Baker said.
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Roberts recently purchased a food truck at a significantly discounted price from the One Bistro restaurant on Main Street. Once the truck gets clearance from the county health department, she plans to start operating inside the truck while continuing to work on getting the building ready for occupancy.
Roberts has some loyal customers. Wilberforce University student Austin Daniels recently stopped in to order the bourbon chicken over rice with sauce. Daniels said when he’s in town, he’ll drive by to see if Roberts is serving food.
“She says she can’t tell nobody about the special recipe, that’s how she gets her money,” Daniels said. “I’ve been coming to support her. I mean I like bourbon chicken, they make it good for you … I support anybody that’s making their own business.”
Connect with Bourbon Bayou Bistro, 607 N. Detroit St., by calling 937-372-3660 or by following them on Facebook.
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