Eat It, Virginia


Rabia Kamara dishes on her dessert dynasty and the fantasy of reality TV

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Posted at 11:01 AM, Jul 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-25 11:01:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A lot has happened to Rabia Kamara since she first appeared on Eat It, Virginia in August 2020. In fact, that first interview took place before Kamara even opened her now Northside neighborhood-defining ice cream shop Ruby Scoops.

"We are now at a place where when houses are listed in Northside, we are in there as a perk, 'you can walk to Ruby Scoops,'" Kamara said about her ice cream shop's success.

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Ruby Scoops and Rabia Kamara

That success has led Kamara to open a second sweet spot — Suzy Sno — in Carytown.

"Suzy Sno is a New Orleans-style snowball shop," she said. "I realized there wasn't anything like that here and I thought it would be a great idea. I love New Orleans. Food is my love language and happiness is my baseline emotion that I hope to evoke from people."

She's also looking to move Ruby Scoops down the street to a larger Northside location.

"We've basically been pushing ice cream out of this 960 square foot box for three years, but we are moving into a brand new like build built out for a space a few blocks down. So we'll go from 960 square feet to about 4000," she said. "It means we'll be able to make enough product to have more locations. I'm planning to make the back kitchen a shared commissary space that prioritizes, Black and Brown and women bakers. I know how hard it is to start a business but also how hard to start a business when you're Black and a woman, so I'm hoping that we can lower some of those barriers to entry by having a space that has ovens and all the things that bakers need."

Rabia Kamara
Rabia Kamara owns and operates Ruby Scoops and Suzy Sno in Richmond, Va.

While sweet, the journey has not always been easy.

Kamara opens up about the challenges that come with running her small businesses, the sometimes harsh reality of everyone's favorite reality cooking shows. and the planning of her upcoming wedding.

"I think I would tell 2020 me a lot of the same things I would have told 2015 me. Hold out. It gets better," she said. "Not giving up is kind of a big thing for me and trying to persevere. It's hard, but it's rewarding. It's rewarding to me when I see little kids at the grocery store, and they're like, I love you and I love your ice cream. And I'm like, I'm just gonna go cry over my fish now."

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Ruby Scoops and Rabia Kamara

Of course, she also breaks down the science behind her crowd-pleasing Duke's Mayo ice cream treats. This episode of Eat It, Virginia is presented by Duke's Mayo Hot Tomato Summer July 24-30, 2023.

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