Sarah Lipps, who graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School in 2009, and Bridget Corson, who's originally from Minnesota, met while at Pepperdine University in Malibu.
"Every Sunday of every weekend my freshman year of college, I drove over an hour to get acai bowls," Lipps said. "And then I moved back home after college and I was like, 'Man, where I can I get a great acai bowl?' And I couldn't find one very close to here." (For those who aren't familiar, acai bowls are made from a berry that comes from palm trees native to Central and South America, touted for its "superfood" benefits. It's typically frozen and blended, then topped with add-ins like fruit or nuts.)
The two business-and-health-food minded college graduates got talking, managed to snag an empty space at 530 Emerson St. and with the backing of Lipps' father, got started. (She said that her father has "always encouraged entrepreneurship in the family, and agreed to back ideas that we are passionate about with a well-researched business plan." He also helped Lipps' brother start a brewery in Portland.)
The downtown shop, dubbed Bare Bowls, is all about transparency, Lipps said.
"We're just really focused on pure ingredients and people knowing what they're getting," she said. "It's just a handcrafted bowl all together."
This means no fruit juice, sorbet or even sweetened acai. The bowls will be made from frozen, pure acai and can be topped with things like fresh fruit, granola, honey, peanut butter, almond butter (which they plan to make themselves), chia seed, cacao, matcha powder and other "real food ingredients." There will be seven bowls on the menu, Lipps said.
Above, a few Bare Bowls acai bowls. Courtesy Bare Bowls.
The duo will also make their own nut milks, which can go in bowls or coffee. They hope to serve caffeine from Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters.
There will also be an "oatmeal of the day" and overnight oats; smoothies, health shots (like wheatgrass, ginger, turmeric) and other grab-and-go local products.
All menu items will range from $8 to $12. They're aiming to be open this fall; stay tuned for more details.