In 2018, Katelin Overton ditched her corporate finance career in Boston for a fresh start in Denver. Here, her continued struggle with a hormonal disease (called polycystic ovary syndrome) and longtime love for cooking inspired Overton to launch an Instagram account and food blog so she could share the recipes she created to align with her gluten-, soy-, and refined sugar-free diet. A flood of fan requests for meal plan recommendations pushed the entrepreneur to open Bowls By KO, a health-forward prepared meal delivery service, last August.
Within months, Overton was delivering paleo-friendly, vegetarian, and vegan bowls to 25 clients in the Denver metro area, customizing her cooking—chile-lime shrimp with mango slaw, spicy Thai-inspired beef with garlic sauce, or chicken thighs with cauliflower tabouli and tzatziki—to accommodate their dietary needs. When the pandemic hit in mid-March, business remained steady, but Overton decided to take a leap and purchase a food truck from a friend. By late June, Bowls By KO began parking at spots like Improper City, Coda Brewing Co., and the Infinite Monkey Theorem to offer Denverites more nourishing food pairings for beer, wine, and cocktails than your average burger or chicken tender.
“Eating out or visiting bars and breweries in Denver will never disappoint from a social aspect. However, if you’re looking for a meal that is going to leave you feeling as good as it tastes when you’re out and about, you’ll likely be disappointed. I built this business on the belief that food is fuel and my menus are packed with delicious and nutritious ingredients,” says Overton.
Overton says that transitioning to a gluten-, soy-, and refined sugar-free diet over five years ago cured the symptoms she’d suffered from most of her adult life, including weight gain and lack of energy; she hopes her business helps others who grapple with similar issues.“When I was about 22, I got really uncomfortable with the lack of answers and treatment, so I started doing my own research and found that there was so much healing you could do through diet,” she says.
Bowls By KO’s offerings may appear simple at first glance, but Overton’s thoughtful components, including house-made sauces and sides, infuse each bowl with fresh, vibrant flavors. For example, the grilled chicken thighs in the green goddess chicken bowl have a subtle sweetness from a marinade of vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and coconut amino acids (a soy sauce alternative) and are served with garlicky rice and a sauce infused with fresh herbs, garlic, and avocado.
To make her slow-roasted pulled pork bowl, Overton rubs pork shoulder with coconut sugar, chile powder, cumin, and mustard seeds before roasting it in the oven for six to eight hours; it’s served with a bed of sweet potatoes with apple cider slaw and pickled onions.
The food truck menu sports four to five signature bowls, with an option to build your own from a selection of proteins (roasted shrimp, steak tips, crispy chickpeas) and accompaniments (marinated English cucumbers, quinoa, cauliflower rice, grain-free tabbouleh), all for $9–$15.
“What I’m trying to show is that you don’t have to choose between healthy food and what you crave,” says Overton. “You can have both.”
Bowls By KO’s truck schedule and delivery meal service information can be found here.