Playa Bowls, a smoothie and superfoods shop, opened a new franchise to the public on May 8 on Liacouras Walk.
Playa Bowls is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and will accept Diamond Dollars by the start of the fall semester. The new shop replaced Pita Pita, a middle eastern food and smoothie shop.
The shop offers an extensive menu of smoothie bowls, fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies and oatmeal. The superfoods listed on the menu include acai berries, pitaya, coconut, banana, kale and spinach, according to their website.
The shop originally planned to open in spring 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the store’s operations and renovation plans, said Adam Matari, the store manager of Playa Bowls and a 2018 sport and recreation management alumnus. The company wasn’t able to begin planning the shop’s opening until July 2020 with hopes to open in the fall 2020 semester, he said.
“The city was backed up with COVID permit delays, you know how that goes, so it ended up being, May 7 was our soft opening and May 8 was our grand opening,” Matari said.
Playa Bowls highly values sustainability and is partnering with Bennett Composting, a Philadelphia-based composting company, to compost all of its waste, Matari said.
“That’s something that the brand is really big on and me myself, I’m really big on sustainability,” Matari said. “All the bowls that we use are made from recycled water bottles, the spoons are 100 percent compostable as well.”
The shop’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts received substantial engagement in anticipation of its grand opening, Matari said.
“We had lots of comments on social media asking us about when we are going to be open,” Matari added. “People were excited”
Mickayla Peardon, a sophomore advertising major, is excited about the new Playa Bowls location on campus.
“My favorite bowl is the Pura Vida bowl, I’m glad it is close by now,” Peardon said.
The Pura Vida, is made with pure acai and topped with blueberries, strawberries, granola and honey, according to the Playa Bowls website.
The opening weekend was successful, as approximately 500 customers visited the shop in its first three days of operation, Matari said.
“It’s about on par with what we’re expecting, I do expect that number to hopefully go up once the semester is up and running,” Matari said.
Jessica Smith, a senior marketing major who works at Playa Bowls, believes that the new Playa Bowls location will be accommodating to students’ schedules.
“I have found that the bowls are an in-between class kind of thing,” Smith said.
Smith has found that the store is busier around noon, she said.
“We will definitely be busier in the fall as people return to campus in the nice weather,” Smith said.