Govinda's Natural Foods restaurant in Tucson, Arizona overcomes adversity, reopens for indoor dining
Govinda's Natural Foods, the popular restaurant that's been serving sumptuous, gourmet vegan and vegetarian meals to legions of Tucson residents for nearly thirty years, is no stranger to adversity, but it recently reopened for indoor dining.
By: Govinda's Natural Foods Buffet
In July 2019, Govinda's incurred significant losses from a fire that destroyed a large portion of the restaurant. It took months to rebuild and this past Thanksgiving they celebrated a grand reopening. Several months later, restaurant operations came to a halt when the virus hit. In the midst of the pandemic, the staff had to think outside of the box just to keep Govinda's afloat.
Holding steadfast to their mission of serving wholesome food to the public, Govinda's was able to pivot their traditional self-serve buffet model and reopened in May, serving pre-packaged to-go meals. Customers could drive in to the parking lot and pick up their order curbside or even order through Door Dash for home delivery within the Tucson city limits. It was an instant hit.
Now, Govinda's indoor dining room has reopened, with stringent health and safety measures in place. Guests will find a no-touch payment system, plexiglass guards that run the length of the buffet, a gloved staff to serve out the meals and three separate sanitizing stations that are all part of the 'new normal' in the age of COVID. The restaurant is located at 711 East Blacklidge Drive.
"When the health department came out, the inspector, who was delighted we were reopening, was amazed at the level of cleanliness and said, 'You guys are a tradition here in Tucson'", said Sharon Cooksey, Govinda's founder and manager.
Govinda's has been a longtime source of delight for many in the community. The restaurant has provided meals to the homeless in an outreach program at Southside Presbyterian Church, and is looking forward to continuing the program at Southside's new facility when it opens. "After eight years they are almost like family," said Cooksey. Sunday, July 5th, will mark the reopening of Govinda's weekly free vegetarian Sunday feast, where all are welcome to come enjoy a nutritious meal prepared with love.
Govinda's is currently open for both socially distanced dine-in and take-out, Wednesday through Sunday, from 11:30am-2:30pm, and Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00pm-8:00pm.