Indigenous-owned Watecha Bowl to open Phoenix, Arizona location – Argus Leader

A new Watecha Bowl will open in 2022 in a major city.
The restaurant, which was founded in Sioux Falls and has been featured on Good Morning America for its famous frybread Indian tacos, is helping two entrepreneurs launch next year in Phoenix, Arizona.
Carry and Heather Blackie will open the third location of the popular Indian frybread restaurant with a southwestern flair, offering something different to the Lakota-owned business.
This will be the first year-round food truck featuring frybread in the Valley of the Sun, and its Navajo franchisees want to make frybread famous and easy to eat on the go.
“You can’t ask for two people that are more driven,” Lawrence West, owner of the original Watecha Bowl in Sioux Falls, said of his newest franchisees.
This is only the second franchise after an Omaha location, also set to open in 2022.
More:Watecha Bowl to open restaurant in Nebraska and a second South Dakota location in 2022
The Phoenix truck’s first 12 original frybread and other menu options will be available, but specials will come with a Navajo interpretation from Spam meat burritos to Navajo tacos, which are made with a special daytime small handheld option more similar to a tortilla than the Watecha-brand massive dough bowls.
“We’re not just a Lakota food restaurant,” West said. “We give them the marketing and media, the business model and support, but we let them make it smell like their tribe, look like their tribe, taste like their tribe.”
The new Phoenix-based owners say the partnership couldn’t have been better timing after their small frybread operation was just a startup to pay bills after the two were hospitalized with COVID-19, but the frybread boomed into a business.
Connections were all made from Facebook when the owner of A&B Native American Cuisine in Toppenish, Washington helped Carry Blackie reach out to West.
A few weeks later, the couple flew to Sioux Falls, met West and bonded over making frybread, with West’s signature Lakota style and Blackie’s signature Navajo style differences helping them bond and visualize what they could make together.
West invested immediately, gaining a massive market with no other year-round Indian taco trucks for Phoenix, plus an already-popular local following with Blackie.
More:Why this Sioux Falls coffee cart owner’s story is a lesson in how to start up
“The Native people here say ‘I want some quality cooking’ and they always have to be going,” Blackie said. “I have people calling and lining up. It’s like I can’t keep up.”
Next year, Watecha Bowl will stop at locations all over Phoenix to sell everything from Navajo tacos to quarter-pound burgers to even a possible breakfast burrito lineup.
“I am the cook and my wife is more the person behind the scenes. This is what my dreams are,” Blackie said. “For us, food trucking is a response to COVID-19 and having been able to find a way out and turn to what we were taught as kids, ya know.”


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