A couple of local self-proclaimed foodies had a vision to branch out from their wastewater business and share their passion for street food and hole-in-the-wall restaurants with the world.
One year later, Julie Cote and Lee Rashkin opened their side business Nomad’s Kitchen in Durham, New Hampshire on Sept. 13 to provide locals with an affordable, counter service food option that contained fresh and diverse ingredients.
A 2014 University of New Hampshire (UNH) graduate, Cote was inspired to develop their idea close to her college roots, somewhere she felt needed it most.
“I have always liked the area, and loved the campus,” Cote said. “I knew that there was a void to fill for the food choices in Durham. We wanted something that was quick, light, tasty, different.”
Surrounded by pizza and sub shops, the two felt Nomad’s Kitchen was a bridge between fresh and fast food, providing a convenience most college students could not ignore.
“Especially with the younger generations, people are more interested in what they’re putting in their body, and there’s a big awareness,” Rashkin said. “People are also not wanting this sit-down dinner where you have to tip your waiter 20 percent.”
The kitchen provides a variety of food choices, giving customers the option to pick from a kitchen favorite, or build their own bowl, wrap, or slider. Mac-and-cheese options, a yogurt and oatmeal bar and a special dessert made with top shelf liquor are also available.
With a love for exploring new food as they travel, the pair opened the restaurant with hopes to reinvent their favorite kind of dishes.
“We wanted to focus on international food and do something that was like an ode to the different street food places we’ve eaten at,” Rashkin said. “That’s why we called it Nomad’s, because it gave us a little more breath as far as the types of food that we were able to offer.”
Since the beginning, the kitchen has been extremely busy thanks to their wide array of customers and UNH students.
“The place itself is really cool and a great idea because there’s so many options to choose from,” sophomore business major Samantha Pasovschi said. “They have everything from Chinese bowls, to healthy salads, to Mexican which is great especially for a college campus because when going out with friends it really has anything you could be in the mood for.”
Another student, junior sociology major Nicole MacLellan, visited Nomad’s on opening day.
“The concept was healthy and unique with some ingredients I’ve never heard of before like chocolate hummus,” MacLellan said. “I got the buffalo chicken wrap and took my food and sat outside. The manager actually came out and checked on us to make sure we were enjoying our food which was super nice.”
While only being open for less than two weeks and experiencing a rush of business, Rashkin and Cote believe the college town location of the restaurant provides a major advantage.
“We have been very well received by the community, and a lot of multigenerational customers that have been repeat customers, families, things like that,” Rashkin said. “People that are really just happy to have another option in Durham.”
The pairs’ personal menu favorites are the So Sue Me Japanese sushi bowl, and the MED Head Mediterranean bowl.
Customers can pre-order their meal online, schedule catering and follow the Nomad’s Kitchen food truck, which will have various locations and events.