Buddha Bowls founders Daniel and Willy began experimenting in the kitchen in their hometown of Evanston, IL, inviting small groups of friends to feast on their culinary creations and cannabis infused concoctions. While attending high school, the two friends witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of cannabis prohibition. They realized that in most cases it wasn’t the drug itself causing harm, but rather the policies that criminalized non-violent offenders and discriminated on the basis of socioeconomic status and race. Cannabis and food became their haven, and it was during those sessions of culinary and cerebral experimentation that the seeds for Buddha Bowls were first planted.
Daniel and Willy wanted to change the way people thought about drugs using delicious food as a vessel. When Daniel visited Isla Vista for the first time, he knew the counter-culture, relaxed vibe would be the perfect environment to open Buddha Bowls. Getting admitted to UCSB was the next step. While studying English as a Gaucho and operating on donations, Daniel worked tirelessly to perfect his craft. He invited friends to the 68 block of Del Playa every Sunday to feast on his culinary creations and pack bowls of all shapes and sizes, and before long he was selling his product door-to-door. Meanwhile, Willy was rapidly falling in love with the restaurant industry while studying business at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Despite working at the critically acclaimed Graze restaurant under the auspices of award-winning chef Tory Miller, Willy knew that it wasn’t enough to satisfy his desire to make an impact.
It didn’t take much convincing for Willy to leave the Midwest behind and move to California to join Daniel and pursue their shared dream of building a purpose-driven business that delivered phenomenal food, service and passion to the local community. With the support of family, friends and Isla Vista, the lease was signed in February of 2013 and construction began immediately. The rest is history!