New eatery Playa Bowls hopes to welcome you to "pineappleland" on Sept. 1 in Arlington Marketplace.  

Playa Bowls will occupy the space in Arlington Marketplace, on 636 Arlington Creek Centre Blvd., between MID Tap and Orange Theory. Construction began in June and is projected to finish in time for a Sept. 1 opening date . Brothers, business partners and Northshore natives Jordan and Beau VanGeffen are excited to bring to Louisiana the first franchise of the New Jersey-based business.

Playa Bowls specializes in customizable acai bowls. The menu will feature more than 35 bowls across seven different bases, including acai, pitaya, coconut, green (kale), chia, banana and steel-cut oatmeal. Customers can top off their bowls with fruit toppings or a drizzle of honey, almond butter, peanut butter or Nutella. 

Bowls will contain 70% of the acai pulp, compared to 30-40% from other companies, according to Dig BR. The fresh fruit will be delivered daily with no sugar additives to the acai base.

“We’ve been kind of looking for a unique, healthy concept to bring to Louisiana, specifically Baton Rouge,” Jordan said. “We stumbled upon Playa Bowls and fell in love with the brand. When you go in there, it’s not like the regular smoothie store — it feels like you’re at a beach.”

The shop’s beach vibes will derive not only from the Brazilian berry-based bowls, but from reclaimed wood from old barns, surf boards that will hang from the ceiling, large murals of waves and other decor widely associated with coastal beach towns. 

Playa Bowls 2

Playa Bowls was originally founded by Robert Giuliani and Abby Taylor, two Jersey Shore natives and surfers. Inspired by surf trips throughout Central and South America, where the surf towns offered its own version of an acai or pitaya bowl, Giuliani and Taylor decided to bring that taste with them to the Jersey Shore.

Giuliani and Taylor struck a deal with the owner of a pizza shop above where they lived at the time and set up a stand on the sidewalk in front of the building. As more people learned of the benefits of the antioxidant-rich acai berry, more people stood in line to try Playa Bowls. The surfers have since led Playa Bowls to expanding with more than 65 stores nationwide.

Playa Bowls smoothies

“‘Playa’ is Spanish for beach,” Jordan said. “Any time you travel in Central and South America, you always see Playa Tamarindo and Playa Mangrove and it’s like ‘hey, this is a beach!’ [Robert and Abby] would always notice these restaurants selling these delicious bowls with fresh fruits, fresh ingredients. It was kind of perfect for an after-beach snack and a very healthy alternative.”

The Arlington Marketplace location will be the first one in the state of Louisiana. Jordan said they plan to be involved with the University, accepting TigerCash and hosting contests and giveaways. 

“The cool thing about Playa Bowls is that you can make it as healthy as you want,” Jordan said. “We’re healthy, we come off as a health food restaurant — but it’s also fun. It’s a place where you can go, relax and hang out with good vibes, good music and cool artwork on the walls.”

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