Native American restaurant comes to Norfolk

NORFOLK-- A new option for those with eager appetites is coming to you in northeast Nebraska.

"It is very much Native American soul food," said Lawrence West. He is bringing the Lakota-food experience to Sunset Plaza Mall in Norfolk with Watecha Bowl. (Watecha meaning potluck in Lakota). 

What started out as a food truck in South Dakota last year -- serving shredded buffalo, buffalo ribs, tacos, chislic and more -- has exploded into a thriving business.

"We started this business venture 15 months ago and already we have multiple food trucks and multiple brick and mortar and also this year we'll branch into drive-thrus," West said.

His blend of American ingredients like beef and berries makes for a unique flavor that brings people back.

"Some people think it's spicy but no - it's earthy," West said. "We came from the earth and we harvest the Earth."

Early Lakota used Nebraska as hunting grounds for buffalo, before settling in the state -- pushed out of Lake Superior by settlers -- to harvest more maize, beans, and squash here. Now, West is turning that history into a future for his people. 

"We take old-time tradition and give it to younger people to continue education and if any of my employees come to me and say hey I have this capital and they prove they're responsible, absolutely I will help them go out on their own."

"What I love is that we bring people together," said his wife, Sophie West.

The restaurant is set to open by New Years Day -- "new year new money!"  -- but it may be open even earlier.

Signage will come up next week. West said they will be hiring but he's not concerned about the labor shortage, as he's found the Native Americans he works with are eager to work.