An Interview with Nova Cafe’s Serena Rundberg

Regena Ozeryansky  |   Wednesday Apr. 1st, 2015

Proudly bringing the 4th Food & Drink Interview to Bozeman Magazine. Our
intention is to bring fun, excitement, and inspiration to the dining arena of our community. We feel every reader should have the opportunity to form their own opinion; by bringing the owners to you we can enhance synergy in an already awesome town.

Nova Cafe has more than just great food and great energy. Serena Rundberg (owner) is embarking on an exploration of a new edge of dining commonly associated with the sustainable movement. Bring on responsible eating revolution - The Nova Cafe has this one down pat!

Regena Ozeryansky: Did you ever see yourself owning a restaurant/cafe? What did you want to be when you grew up?

Serena Rundberg: (responding with a proud curving smile) Well back in California, where I’m from, I was in a very different industry. I came to Bozeman about 10 years ago while I was in the IT Sales industry working in Silicon Valley. I always had a passion for food & the industry itself. I came to visit family and fell in love with Bozeman. After a very short 2 months of first arriving, I knew I was meant to be here! (I) packed my things, and planned my new life. Nova Cafe, which was under a different name and concept when I first found it, developed as a result of  lots of soul searching.

As a kid I wanted to work with people, eating out for breakfast as kid was always part of my world.

RO: Why did you choose food?

SR: I have a huge passion for food, to me it represents connection, community, and family.

Serena continues, sharing while growing up, breakfast was a way her family to experience food & joy together.  We talked about the Cafe, and her shifting roles over time. “I used to cook at the Cafe, not so much anymore. Although I’m happy to do it. We have a great chef, you should talk to him one day.”

RO: What do you like best about owning the cafe?

SR: Connecting with people, creating community.

RO: What do you feel, if anything, has changed about you as a business owner over the years? What’s different about owning a restaurant if applicable, expanded/shifted, etc.?  

SR: Looking at the broader picture (has changed) for sure. While I was living in Cali I took food for granted, not realizing all it took to get it from farm to table. I thought the food was in my backyard. Being here has taught me so much and gives the opportunity to get local produce & products.  We teamed up with Western Sustainability Exchange (8 years ago) a non-profit commerce program which supports the farm to restaurant movement.

[WSE helps restaurants source sustainably produced, local foods for their businesses].

RO: What do you feel is unique about your restaurant & how it makes a difference for people?

SR: What started as a desire to grow community through food, has enabled Nova Cafe to empower and educate people about the food industry. (It) gives them the power to learn & be educated about and where their food comes from. This movement gives us an opportunity to transfer from the local level to a much larger global level, thus creating global transformation by creating sustainable & responsible business practices and giving consumers an opportunity to make more conscious buying decisions regarding their dining experience & what they are putting in their bodies. It makes me feel good to know our restaurant is part of that.

RO: Are there any trends you see relevant in the industry that you feel guests can enjoy more of if they knew about? What should/could guests expect to look for to create better experience for themselves and staff of favorite restaurants?

SR: Local foods & sustainable business practices are more on the rise than ever before, people want to know where their food comes from and we provide that. I, as a business owner, can go directly to the farms whether cattle or dairy etc. I can see the animals that get to our cafe. It makes me feel good knowing I get a say in where the food that gets to our guests comes from. It’s really rewarding.    

RO: Why this Restaurant/Cafe?

With shine in her eyes she answers;

SR: It was the right time, right spot, right town. At the time, I didn’t even know how perfect it was.  The whole process turned out to be perfect.

RO: What do you want guests to experience when they come to this restaurant?

SR: We want our guests to have an honest, genuine experience where everyone is welcome. Whether it’s the food, or how the staff treats you, we want everyone to feel good!

Serena shared exciting news of another cafe opening soon in town...more info to come, stay tuned! Info available at Nova Cafe.

Bonus Question: What do you like best about Bozeman?

SR: Our unique & awesome community! The mountains. Bozeman has it all.  

About the Author(s)