“Community is what got us through this.”
“No matter the circumstance, Wacoans love Wacoans.”
These were the words of Mike Dubose, co-owner of the popular restaurant, The Blasian Asian, inside of Union Hall in downtown Waco. While Mike and his wife, Chevy, are not native Wacoans, they have seen a city they’ve grown to love band together to support each other in the midst of the crisis of COVID-19.
In 2015, Mike and Chevy moved to Waco from Seattle because of a job promotion. When they got to Waco, they had a hard time finding that tasty, authentic Cambodian food that they were accustomed to in their previous city. Chevy began cooking some herself and selling it out of their home. Quickly, the little hobby became enough of a business to move into a food truck, and The Blasian Asian was born. They flourished on the banks of the Brazos River, selling authentic Cambodian food to locals and visitors alike.
Again, the pace was outgrowing the space, and The Blasian Asian had another decision to make. In 2019, they secured their own stall inside of Union Hall, a new community dining concept downtown, in hopes that a larger space would afford them more opportunities to open foodies’ eyes to the wonders of Cambodian cuisine. Even as they switched locations, their following in the community supported them more than ever.
In March, when the spread of COVID-19 forced many restaurants to go to a take-out only model, Mike and Chevy were floored when their business actually continued to get larger. “We have grown from four employees to now sixteen employees,” Mike said. Of course, though, there are things they have had to adapt. In their space at Union Hall, they have had to perfect their efficiencies and flow for their cook-to-order food. As costs of goods rise with a lesser supply available, Mike and Chevy do not waver on one thing, though; their prices. “Our prices have not changed since we were in the food truck,” he said, a nod to the community that has supported them the whole way. Mike and Chevy are members of the African-American Chamber, the Hispanic Chamber, the NAACP, and the Freemasons. While their ties to Waco are only 5 years old, they believe that without Wacoans supporting them, they wouldn’t have made it.
Even though The Blasian Asian has found success during this time, Mike’s focus is still on helping other businesses during the ups and downs of the pandemic. “Stay consistent and don’t give up, adapt your business as needed, and don’t throw in the towel.” For Mike and Chevy, the adapting continues, now at the crossroads again of potentially expanding to accommodate the increased volume.
For Mike and Chevy, the value they put into the community directly correlates to the value that they get out of their business. “No matter the circumstance, Wacoans love Wacoans, and community is what got us through this.” In the same way that they were supported, they do their best to help mentor other new and struggling business owners to find the same perseverance and success.