Damon Stevens pressured the relevance of acquiring out of one’s comfort and ease zone as he raised his daughter, Azurá, in North Carolina. Not only did Damon implement this lesson as a basketball coach for the several AAU teams which Azurá performed for, he encouraged an open-minded approach to lifestyle when he used time with his daughter in the kitchen.
“Azurá constantly utilised to test distinctive things I’d cook for her,” Damon explained. “She’s a foodie style. You know, she’ll go to Japan and China, consuming squid, sharks, eels and things like that, she’ll send out images. I was like ‘Wow you ate that stuff?’ She was like, ‘Yes father, I tried out it.’”
Though this special bond among father and daughter was by now solid, their shared love and exhilaration in the direction of foodstuff took to new concentrations early previous calendar year.
“We ended up throwing around concepts about minimal dining establishments and stuff like that,” Damon mentioned. “I normally consider about crawling prior to functioning. So I stated, ‘Let’s go into this food items truck issue initially.’ Food stuff vehicles have a small overhead, so we could commence that up and see how that goes.”
Cooking and making ready the foodstuff was one particular thought, but analyzing the forms of dishes the duo preferred to promote demand separated brainstorming classes. Damon mentioned they knew barbecue and hamburgers would be an effortless promote to buyers, but like he had elevated his daughter to be, they didn’t want to enjoy it safe and sound.
“I’m the type of chef that likes to action outside the box and do one thing unique,” he claimed.
So, the two agreed on fish and grits, a cuisine they could focus on producing their specialized niche in the Raleigh-Durham meals truck organization. After the menu was resolved, it was time to name their soon-to-be procedure.
Not shockingly, Damon turned to his family’s other passion: basketball.
The foods truck’s identify – Same O Dame O’s Shrimp, Fish and Grits – harkens again many years to Damon’s significant university basketball days. Just after missing a layup all through a single exercise, Damon’s previous close friend and teammate “Pops” called him “Same O Dame O.” Even though the nickname manufactured his teammates snicker for just a couple of minutes, it in the long run caught and even was carried out as element of Damon’s small business way of thinking.
“We use it as a motto,” Damon mentioned. “Be constant in whatsoever you do.”
Supported by a stable enterprise philosophy and surrounded by a inspired team, the Stevens loved ones outfitted a trailer, designed an attractive menu and opened for small business on June 20, 2020.
For far more than a calendar year, this food items truck has traveled across the Raleigh-Durham area, serving up Scorching Salmon Cakes, Creamy Sharp Cheddar Grits and the business’s most well-known merchandise, Very same O’s Well known Shrimp.
While Azurá balances the specialist and particular routine that accompanies all WNBA gamers, she proceeds to serve a steady function in the operation. Regardless of being 800 miles away for months at a time, she aids make business enterprise decisions, menu improvements and expanding their foodstuff truck’s social media existence.
Azurá explained she has also discovered similarities amongst her duties as an entrepreneur and a experienced athlete.
“I consider of the times when we’re out serving the food and how these are kind of like a recreation day,” she mentioned. “You nevertheless have to get ready and get completely ready, but there is a great deal of stuff you have to take on the fly and figure out.”
Community support is similarly essential to Similar O Dame O’s. The Stevens take pleasure in possessing collaborated with local corporations in North Carolina to offer jobs to men and women that are dealing with homelessness. And soon after conquering many of the issues brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, the family members continues to brainstorm how they can mature the company. Some suggestions that have been passed close to consist of bottling and promoting Similar O Dame O’s well known sauces in shops as perfectly as driving the food stuff truck outside of North Carolina.
Azurá hopes that in the in close proximity to upcoming, Chicago Sky followers will be able to consider out her family’s recipes.
“I certainly want to get the truck up below for games at some time. I’m gonna make that a objective of mine,” Azurá explained. “Everyone below will all be able to try it, which will make it even much more distinctive.”