Owner Wilmary Amaya has been growing a local following for the acai bowl store since purchasing the Gulf Breeze shop from its Brazilian founders in 2019.
Amaya hopes that the new Pensacola kiosk will be open by Gallery Night on Jan. 20. She is still waiting on necessary permitting to open, however it could launch as soon as the weekend.
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The superfood, brought in from the Amazonian rainforest, is said to increase blood circulation, boost immune cell function, fight cancerous cells and contain anti-aging effects,
The restaurant shines amongst its competitors for its use of pure acai, Amaya said, noting that other companies may add fillers into the base, such as apple juice or almond milk, to make the acai go farther. Though the added ingredients are less costly than the unadulterated acai, they strip the bowls of nutrients that consumers think they are consuming.
After the processed berries are brought into her shop, Amaya turns them into a frozen yogurt-like consistency that can be dispensed into a bowl, cone or cup, making it versatile enough to serve as a nutritious breakfast or a satisfying dessert.
Customers have the freedom to get creative with their topping choices. Children tend to be quick to load up on marshmallows, sprinkles and chocolate chips, while the more health-conscious will opt for chia seeds, nut butter or bee pollen to mix in with their bowl after a workout.
“It’s like an ice cream without the dairy and tons of sugar,” Amaya said.
She has expanded market to meet the needs of her customers, which means offering protein shakes, smoothies and twisted cups beyond just the traditional acai bowls.
At The Garden location, she will initially start with just the basic acai bowls, like her best-selling Caribbean, layered with granola, almonds, peanut butter, chia seeds, coconut, banana, strawberry and blueberry. With time, the owner will begin to incorporate new items onto the menu, with potential for an exclusive item just for The Garden.
Although Amaya has since taking over, there are still some remnants of the shop’s original Brazilian influence, like the popular “Brazilian Style” acai cup served with banana, kiwi and condensed milk.
The Garden store will be an earthier version of the bright Gulf Breeze location, with a greenery backdrop and wood tones.
“I think it’s going to be pretty cute,” she said.
The kiosk is not the end of her expansion plans, as she hopes to open a food truck in the future as well.
She said she has seen her dream of becoming her own boss come to life since moving to the Panhandle from Venezuela.
“We are doing what we dreamed to do,” she said.
More information can be found on the Acai Bowls Tropical Fusion Facebook page.