A Bowling Green Teen Experiences Success With Elizabeth’s Cafe.

by | Apr 2024

IF YOU live in Bowling Green, you may have seen an “Elizabeth’s Cafe” food truck riding around the city. This is not just any ordinary food truck. A teenager runs this business.

Her main dishes are tacos, walking tacos, and smash burgers — made with two mini brioche buns, ground beef, seasoning, and cheddar cheese. For sides, she serves sweet corn, coleslaw, and chips. Customers can complete the meal with Chaney’s Ice Cream or baked goods, such as homemade cookies. 

The mastermind behind this food truck business Elizabeth’s Cafe is Elizabeth Coulter. The 15-year-old girl is a Bowling Green native. Her dad, Brandon Coulter, has lived in the same city all his life, marrying Jessica in 2007. Elizabeth was born soon after.

Elizabeth participates in taekwondo, volleyball, and, of course, cooking activities. She is also a worship leader at her church and attends culinary school, becoming the youngest person to ever enroll in her class. The idea for her cafe sprung up about a year ago, and the business began in the late summer of 2023.

“This started when I was about in sixth grade and when I became homeschooled,” Elizabeth said. “And it just really put the gas pedal on to make me go to my passion, because I’ve been watching all these baking shows and cooking shows ever since I was little. And I’m like, ‘Oh, I really want to do that.’ But homeschool really pushed me to be able to follow that dream.” 

That epiphany came at the perfect time because she had been facing adversity in life. She was bullied in grade school. Having dyslexia added extra challenges as well.

“All those things were hitting her, and for her to be able to find what she wants to do — we were fully supportive of that as parents,” Jessica said.

Both parents worked in economics and accounting, so they had no idea how to start a food business. They sought every piece of advice and information they could find, which included reaching out to many friends and finding people who could train Elizabeth. Soon enough, they were ready for the food truck business. But here’s a fact that may surprise most people: The homeschooler bought the truck herself with money she earned from working.

“She actually picked out the truck, designed the truck, and ordered the food truck,” said Jessica, who moved to Bowling Green in 1996. 

Rather than aiming for 500 to 1,000 customers, they took her business to her very own neighborhood and three schools in the area — Cumberland Trace Elementary, Rich Pond Elementary School, and William H. Natcher Elementary. They book Elizabeth for special events as well. Usually, the family participates in one to two events per month as they balance Elizabeth’s schedule with schoolwork and extracurricular activities. 

Being her first year in the food truck industry, us, as her parents, wanted to let her start on a smaller scale so that she would begin and understand the business, where she could modify her menus and figure out how many things she can cook in a certain time and how fast she could get it done, so it wouldn’t be overwhelming for her,” Jessica said.

Back in December, Elizabeth made over 600 gingerbread and sugar cookies for Santa’s Lookout, an event for children to enjoy riding a train, meeting Santa, catching a barrel ride, eating treats, and more.

“This was her thing that she wanted to do and so as parents, we supported her in that, and tried to help her with budgeting and figuring all the things out,” Jessica said.

Jessica drives the trailer and takes orders. Brandon assists with the grill and hands over food. Even Hannah, Elizabeth’s 11-year-old sister, helps by preparing ice cream and calling out orders. 

“My favorite part is being able to cook for people,” Elizabeth said about her cafe. “I like when they taste my food and say, ‘Oh, it tastes really good,’ and it just makes me feel good.”

Elizabeth plans to own a restaurant one day and appreciates the support her family has provided. 

“It’s just really helpful in a lot of ways to have that because sometimes you don’t think you’re doing a great job, and then you have that family behind you … saying you’re doing a great job at it and don’t give up on a dream,” the homeschooler said. 

Such support goes a long way for teenagers like Elizabeth, who serves as a great example and encouragement for other young people with entrepreneurial inspirations. GN

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