Playa Bowls Franchise Sets Up Shop in Beach Haven

May 23, 2018
Supplied Photo

People who live a healthy, exercise-oriented lifestyle will find an oasis in Beach Haven’s newest business, Playa Bowls LBI, which opened May 11 at 610 North Bay Ave. A franchise established in 2014, Playa Bowls has more than 35 locations throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Thirty more are scheduled to open within the next year. The Beach Haven location is the eighth in Ocean County. 

According to the Playa Bowls website, the franchise’s concept is the vision of founders Rob Giuliani and Abby Taylor. Both Jersey Shore natives and longime surfers, they were inspired by chasing summer on surf trips to Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, California, Hawaii, Nicaragua and Panama.

“Almost every exotic surf town they visited offered their own version of an Açai or Pitaya bowl,” the site says. “It was the perfect meal after a long surf that didn’t make you feel weighed down. The nutrients give you a natural energy boost and they were instantly hooked on the flavors of these super fruits.”

When they returned, they knew they had to share their love for açai with the masses at the Jersey Shore. At first, Taylor blended up her favorite bowl combinations for family and friends, but Giuliani persuaded her to think bigger. They decided to open a pop-up stand on Eighth Avenue in Belmar in front of the pizza shop they lived above. With extension cords running out of the apartment, two blenders, a fridge and a patio table, Playa Bowls was born.

“They started with a small menu of just Açai bowls and a few smoothies that included the Dolce Smoothie named after their chocolate lab that frequented the stand daily,” the site says. “They spent long days handing out flyers on the beach and explaining the surf culture and benefits of Açai to beach goers.  As word spread of the unique concept and the cool beachy vibe the couple created, lines grew and they knew that they needed more space. They moved into Belmar Fitness, a gym that was sitting vacant due to its destruction from Superstorm Sandy. They worked night and day to open that location in 21 days and opened on July 4th with a line that seemed to never end. This location would become their flagship store and the start of an exploding business built on hard work and an insanely cool brand that people love.”

Margot Brown, one of five partners at the Beach Haven location, expects Playa Bowls to do well since many people who come to the Island love bicycling, surfing and other outdoor activities where they will need to have their thirst quenched. Her partners are Kenny Macchiverna, Kevin Stewart, Jason Coleman and Brooke Mesanko.

“We’ll have bike racks so people can feel free to ride their bikes here,” said Brown.

The menu will feature a wide variety of bowls, smoothies and fresh juices. For example, its Açai Bowls feature the 8th Avenue, featuring blended açai, topped with granola, banana and honey. There’s also the tropical açai bowl that includes blended açai, granola, banana, pineapple, coconut flakes and honey. Its green bowls include the Ocean Ave., featuring blended kale topped with granola, banana and honey, and the Green Power, which has blended kale with vanilla protein topped with granola, banana and almond butter.

There are also more than 10 smoothies. For example, the Booster features banana, vanilla protein, flax oil, spirulina, peanut butter and cashew milk. The Kowabunga is a blended mix of banana, strawberry, blueberry and coconut milk. Orange Power includes orange, vanilla protein, pineapple and coconut milk.

 “We’re offering healthy alternatives, something we felt was very much needed on the Island,” said Masenko.

Brown said outdoor seating is available.

“We plan to have live entertainment,” she said. “We’re going to make this a fun place to stop, where you can get healthy refreshments and relax.”  

Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., although it could expand to 11 p.m. in the summer. Telephone is 609-467-5818.

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

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