Owners of North Austin organic restaurant focus on giving back to charity

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When O’JOY co-owners Ghena and Michael Ramos first discussed opening a restaurant, they said they had a few distinct goals in mind.

They wanted an affordable menu, to use organic ingredients and have an impact on a charitable cause.

Three years after opening O’JOY on Burnet Road, and serving housemade smoothies, acai bowls, juices, sandwiches and salads, the Ramoses are on track to reach 50,000 donations to charities that fight hunger. For each item purchased at O’JOY, a meal is donated to a child through No Kid Hungry and Rice Bowls.

“When we hit 10,000 meal donations we did a free acai bowl day, and that brought hundreds of people. There was a line down the street,” Ghena said. “We’re about to hit 50,000, so soon we’ll celebrate that, too.”

The acai bowls, which at O’JOY are called Joy Bowls, are one of the most popular menu items, Michael said.

“We have a customer that has been coming for a version of our bowl with peanut butter almost every day since we opened. He came so often we created a bowl for him called the Cole Bowl because his name is Cole,” Michael said.

Most of the customers, especially those who visit during the lunch rush, work for large employers in the area such as Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and IBM Co. By forming relationships with customers, Michael said he hopes the shop will benefit the community.

“Since we’re here almost everyday ourselves it makes it easy to create a culture where the customers know us,” Michael said. “It’s just a very transparent atmosphere. It makes everyone feel very comfortable eating here, and it’s more like friends hanging out and sharing food.”

For now, Michael said their plan to further their mission of one-for-one donations includes focusing on their bottled juices, which are sold at 40 area retailers. Eventually they may open a second location.

“North Austin is a very friendly area,” he said. “People are really neighborly here.”

O’JOY

11101 Burnet Road, Ste. 140, Austin
512-356-9520
www.ojoygives.com
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered health care and public education in Austin.
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