Dr. Dusty DuBois, founder of Bothell’s Revolve Food & Wine, is not your typical restaurant owner — so it seems only fitting that Revolve is not your typical restaurant. The health-focused menu, which is gluten-free, non-GMO, organic, and locally sourced whenever possible, is one of the most unique in the area.
Even more unique than the food, however, is DuBois’ journey to opening Revolve. DuBois, a chiropractor since 1998 and owner of Bothell Chiropractic & Wellness since 2008, did not have any restaurant experience when she decided to open her own.
“I own the building where my chiropractic business is, and there’s always been a space available for lease, but nothing has ever worked out,” DuBois said. “I kept thinking, ‘Why doesn’t somebody put a restaurant like I want to have in that space? It would have a wine bar, and it would serve whole foods.’ And suddenly I realized that I had to open that restaurant, that I was the one with the backbone and the vision to do it. Three and a half years later, Revolve opened.”
To understand why DuBois was motivated to open a restaurant without any experience, it is important to understand her long and tumultuous relationship with food. DuBois grew up as a gymnast, and by the time she was 15 had a position as a fitness instructor. When she moved to Iowa for chiropractor school, she began to gain weight despite her heavy exercise background.
“In my early to mid-30s, I was getting fatter, eating less, exercising more,” she said. “And I couldn’t exercise more and eat less; it wasn’t possible. I didn’t know that weight loss was 90 percent a food issue, and that only 10 percent is generally exercise.”
Then, a colleague introduced her to a program called Ideal Protein, which is offered only in doctors’ offices. In October 2010, she started the program, and it changed her life: She lost 70 pounds in seven months without exercising, averaging four pounds of fat loss per week for 10 weeks. This experience made her realize that her relationship with food and exercise had been backward, and that she had been working against herself for years.
“After I lost the weight, when I was reading and researching, I became really passionate because I had tried so many things, and suddenly changing my diet was so easy,” DuBois said. “And as a chiropractor with all my education and background, and my fitness history, if I couldn’t figure it out and I was getting fatter and fatter, how could anybody figure it out?”
DuBois felt excited about her new discoveries and wanted to share them with others, and a healthy restaurant with delicious food seemed the perfect way to do so. Her vision for Revolve was to have a place that considers a holistic picture of health while also serving food that is recognizable and enjoyable.
“Our food has to look and feel comfortable, because we’re in Bothell,” she said. “We have to have burgers, fish and chips, things like that. We have food that (customers) know they will enjoy, but they’re getting the heartful aspects of not eating the gluten, grains, and processed stuff.”
The food packs a tasty punch, too: The fish and chips, which DuBois said is a customer favorite, is a unique take on a classic dish and a rare comfort food option for people who are grain-free. The fish and chips are made with wild-caught cod battered in almond and coconut flour and deep-fried in safflower oil. Every condiment that might pair alongside it — salt, ketchup, dressings — is also made in-house to avoid cross-contamination for the celiac-friendly restaurant.
The physical benefits of eating whole, organic foods accrue over a lifetime, said DuBois. She explained that recent studies in the field of epigenetics, which has taken off in the last five years, show that genes can be turned on or off depending on the types of foods the body receives. This suggests that the age-old idea that you are what you eat is actually pretty true: What you put in your mouth makes a big difference to your overall health.
“Good foods that are full of something like antioxidants can clean up the free radicals in your body and actually turn off bad genes, even if they’re already being expressed,” DuBois explained. “That’s why the tagline I originally wanted to use for Revolve was ‘food that won’t kill you.’ I got voted down, but it’s true: Food can either create health, or it can give you the slowest death you could have.”
Dubois recognizes, however, that a holistic picture of a person’s health calls for balance. That’s where the wine bar comes in. Ultimately, she said, if we didn’t have any alcohol at all, we’d all probably be a little healthier. But health isn’t something that is solely based on the body’s internal reactions.
“Everyone’s well-being and health involves a social aspect,” DuBois said. “People who have a lot of friends and gatherings are generally happier. That’s how I see wine fitting into the picture. I don’t know if I want to be the healthiest person on the planet, and I don’t want to live to be 120 if I can’t drink wine. I’d be OK dying in my 90s if I can drink wine. It’s all about being well-rounded, and I think it’s more beneficial than not, especially if you drink organics.”
To add to that balance, Revolve serves organic, biodynamic, and sustainable-practice wines that don’t use sulfates or added sugars as preservatives. That way, customers can enjoy the physiological elements that do make wine a good choice in terms of alcoholic beverages, while also reaping its associated social benefits.
This September marks two years of business for Revolve, which she said was made possible thanks to her incredible team. Despite difficulties that the restaurant has faced — the main access point to the restaurant, for example, closed for almost a year shortly after Revolve’s grand opening — DuBois remains unintimidated by her somewhat-spontaneous business venture. And she aspires to continue to grow Revolve: She has a vision of opening another location for food and converting the current restaurant into more of a wine bar and private dining area. With more resources, she also hopes to expand into the catering market in the future — she knows her bacon-wrapped dates would be a crowd-pleaser at just about any party on the Eastside.