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Playa Bowls adds Rutgers to list of locations

<p>Courtesy of Desi Saran | Playa Bowls, a Belmar, N.J.-based health food restaurant, is opening a new location just off the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick.</p>

Courtesy of Desi Saran | Playa Bowls, a Belmar, N.J.-based health food restaurant, is opening a new location just off the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick.

Students do not have to take the trip to the Jersey Shore to eat and Instagram their favorite Playa Bowls anymore — now they can take a short trip to a new location right here at Rutgers.

The fruit bowl and smoothie shop have locations in Belmar, Pier Village and Bay Head, New Jersey, and is now bringing their summer vibes to Rutgers campus.

But their new location is special, said Desi Saran, one of the four owners, including Robert Giuliani, Abby Taylor and Nick Komandis. 

Not only is their largest demographic college students, but three of the four owners are Rutgers alumni, said Saran, who is a Rutgers MBA alumnus and class of 2007 graduate.

“We thought it was a big deal to bring something back to the community, to the University,” he said.

It is also the first location away from the beach, Saran said.

“This is a big move for us,” he said. “We are confident and everything has been great so far. I think it was a great choice for us, for our first location away from the shore."

Saran said his goal is to replicate the look, feel, atmosphere and menu of the other locations on the New Jersey shore.

The shop, which known for its pitaya and acai bowls that are healthy and filling, has a variety of flavors to choose from. Acai berries, a trendy superfood filled with antioxidants, are ground and can be mixed with fruit, granola, coconut, peanut butter, nutella and more.

The outcome is colorful, and many take it to social media sites, which has helped in the promotion and popularity of Playa Bowls.

“I think students like having a healthy food option,” he said. “It’s definitely different and unique. The playa bowls are delicious, they’re filling and they’re a full meal replacement. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.”

The shop opened last Saturday and the feedback has been very good, Saran said. There will be a grand opening Saturday, Sept. 17, with giveaways.

“The students love our products, they are super happy that we are here, they are super happy that they have a healthy food options," Saran said.

While the owners are excited about their new location, they do not plan to end here.

“We are planning to expand more,” Saran said. “The next one we are planning to open is in Red Bank, then we are looking to go up north to Montclair and then other northern towns like Hoboken.”

Playa Bowls opening at Rutgers is a great addition to the campus, said Antoinette Robustelli, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

“Every time I was down the shore this summer I made sure to wait in the crazy lines for one of these bowls,” Robustelli said. “There's so much variety and they're surprisingly filling, so it could actually hold me over for a three-hour lecture.”

Robustelli said she is excited to visit the location at Rutgers as soon as possible.

“I'm glad playa bowls are organic, because I plan on getting one every day,” she said.

The first time Gillian Blewett, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, tried one of “these delicious creations” was when they were just a small food stand on 8 th Avenue in Belmar, NJ.

She has not been to the new location at Rutgers, but said she plans to visit.

“Now, look how popular this unique business has become,” she said. “The story behind the growth of Playa Bowls is beyond inspiring to college students trying to find their passion.”

Playa Bowls has never disappointed Blewett.

“Each different flavored bowl is just as delicious as the next,” she said. “Not to mention how beautifully made and picture perfect they are. I can’t wait to try more creative and colorful fall flavors this upcoming semester.” 

Noa Halff is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in journalism and media studies. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum.

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