Go Buddha Meals Come Home To Lakewood

Kitchen staff for Go Buddha Meals (photo courtesy of Emily Christescu)

If you had to launch a new business from Lakewood just ahead of a pandemic and general shutdown, you could do much worse than plant-based meal delivery.

Go Buddha Meals has fed people—and employed people—even as unemployment has soared. Husband and wife team Joshua Ingraham and Emily Christescu say they’re encouraged by their experience so far, but it’s certainly not what they anticipated or planned for. Ingraham says that supply chains have been disrupted, and Christescu adds that promoting a new food business without meeting people in person or offering samples poses obvious challenges. “It’s still nerve-wracking,” she says.

People finding Go Buddha, and placing orders anyway, may have to do with the importance of accessibility to the original concept.

Ingraham says his work as a chef and dietary manager often revealed gaps, particularly while working with the Cleveland Clinic. Patients asking for healthy diet suggestions, after a health crisis, demonstrated one gap; the limited options in a “food desert” near the Clinic main campus was another.

Concern to bridge gaps and make healthy meals more accessible defined Go Buddha’s model in multiple ways. The startup prepares meals, and delivers them; the minimum order is a single bowl, at $10, no membership or subscription required.

The menu seems accessible, also, even for a picky eater. Tofu and salads align readily with the “grains, greens and beans” which Ingraham describes, but Southwestern BBQ, dessert options, and a “nacho kit” also turn up.

Lakewood has been supportive of Go Buddha, says Christescu, even though so far that has meant paying for delivery from a commercial kitchen in Brook Park. But a partnership with Nature’s Oasis will soon make Buddha Bowls more accessible. Later this month, Nature’s Oasis locations in Lakewood and Shaker Heights will carry Go Buddha meals, and allow free pick-up of orders placed online.

A pandemic stay-at-home reality has still been a challenging fit with accessibility. Both owners emphasize safety as a high priority, above and beyond the requirements of permitting and licenses. Ingraham says that “We’ve made a decision during the pandemic to keep our circuit closed,” and Go Buddha’s cooks are also the delivery drivers, for example.

Starting out concerned with health and challenges of access has, again, probably helped in unplanned ways. Still, Ingraham confides that “It was very odd for us to start a company and then basically be locked down in our house.”

Christescu hopes that some day Go Buddha will have a dine-in location of its own. For now, menus and more are all at gobuddhameals.com.

Lakewood resident Matt Kuhns is a freelance graphic designer, and occasional author.

Matt Kuhns

Matt Kuhns is a freelance graphic designer, and occasional author.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 1:11 PM, 05.06.2020