BONNERS FERRY — As time marches on and the seasons change from one to another, so do things around Bonners Ferry. Soul Shine’s former owners, Tracy Truesdell and Josh Sherven, have handed the reins down to Laken Rice, who at 20 years old, has become a business owner to a well-rated business in the city.
Rice grew up in Bonners Ferry, and after a brief move to Coeur d’Alene, she returned home.
“I have always loved the food, but I moved to Coeur d’Alene trying to decide what to do next. So the day after I moved back home this past spring, my dad saw on Craigslist that the business was for sale,” said Rice. “Within three days I said yes, came in, and bought it. I just knew that this is what I wanted to do, it’s a good fit for me.”
Rice knew that buying the business, which is now called Laken’s Soul Shine, would be the best thing for her. She has the goal of traveling the world and learning about foods from other cultures in order to bring them back to Bonners Ferry so that the people here can try exotic foods locally. With that, her motto is, “Flavors from around the world wrapped up in a burrito.”
Speaking about the main attraction for buying the business, Rice said, “The opportunity, the thrill, the challenge. Something to put in my book at the end; a new, exciting chapter.”
Rice has the goals of bringing not only new flavors to the menu, but tying the decor into the around the world theme too. She also has a tip jar filled with money from all over the world that people have brought in, and she wants maps and other decor showcasing the theme. Rice also is looking for a larger location so that her visions may come to life.
“I want this to be more of an education, sit down, coffee house feel,” Rice said. “You can come in here and sit at the Mongolia table and learn about Mongolia while eating the region’s food.”
With the high online rating, visitors from out of town — including Japan, Canada, and many other places — have come to eat at Soul Shine.
“I love meeting people from anywhere and everywhere,” said Rice. “You never know who is sitting at your table.”
One customer from Boise came to visit the restaurant, and he happened to be a journalist who travels to each county and eats food, then writes an article about them. Soul Shine won the Boise Best Bites Award this past summer.
After adding breakfast to the menu, Rice said, “We’re here and open for breakfast, we have grab and go burritos made, and awesome daily specials.”
With food that is flavorful and healthy, Rice also caters to people with all different tastes and diets, as she offers vegan and gluten free options.
“As customers look at the menu, they don’t see meat listed in the ingredients. They have the option to add pork or chicken to any menu item,” said Rice. “Its unusual for people to see that, and irks some people a bit, but the option is there.”
With the previous menu items remaining, and new items to come, Rice has started off on the right foot.
“I want to bring back creative cooking ideas to my sweet little business, in perfect Bonners Ferry for all my wonderful customers and friends,” Rice said with a cheerful smile.
With hard work stacked with her ambition, Rice will continue to bring her best to Bonners Ferry.