Playa Bowls Boston, situated between El Pelón and Crazy Dough’s on Commonwealth Ave, opened its doors on Feb. 16. Since the recent opening, their popularity among Boston College students is already evident. Per their name, Playa Bowls serves pitaya, acai, coconut, chia pudding, green, and oatmeal bowls. Each bowl has its own name and toppings, but customers do have the option to create their own as well. Their menu also expands beyond bowls to include fresh juice, smoothies, and Fuel America coffee.
Playa Bowls was founded in 2014 by Jersey Shore natives and avid surfers Rob Giuliani and Abby Taylor. After taking many surfing trips and seeing acai and pitaya bowls as a commonality in the towns they visited, Giuliani and Taylor chose to bring them back to the East coast. They started off small, on the side of the road and across from the beach in Belmar, New Jersey. Five years later, a company that began with just a cart and a blender now has over sixty-five locations. With a number of stores in New Jersey, they have spread to cities and states across the East coast, but had yet to reach to the Boston area… that is, until now!
Dana Nentin ‘05 is one of the five owners of Playa Bowls Boston, along with Sarosh Nentin ‘05, David Swanson ‘05, Hung Lam ‘06, and John Castiglione ‘05. The fact that these five partnering franchisers are all BC alumni is a detail not many people may know. In discussing their location, which is just across the street from their alma mater, Dana Nentin said, “We picked the Boston area to expand the Playa Bowls concept because of our college roots. We’re excited to be able to bring a healthy, fresh, new food option to our fellow Eagles, something that we never had when we were students here!”
The decision to open a Playa Bowls approximately three minutes from Lower campus has proven to be a good one. The shop is already off to a successful start, and its positive reputation among students only seems to be growing.
“The most popular time to come is between 11 o’clock and three o’clock,” said Dana Nentin. “However, we’d also recommend checking us out in the morning for breakfast—we open at 8:00 a.m.—and trying our oatmeal bowls or coffee; we serve locally sourced Fuel America hot and cold brew coffee!”
Some bowls have proven to be favorites among BC students and other customers that walk through the door. Dana Nentin explains, “Since we opened, the two most popular bowls are the Pura Vida and Nutella acai bowls.” The Nutella bowl, drizzled with the hazelnut spread and topped with granola, strawberry, banana, and coconut flakes, is frequently posted on social media by satisfied visitors. It was also endorsed by BC’s own AJ Dillon via Instagram soon after Playa Bowls opened its doors. However, Dana Nentin encourages customers to try other options as well, saying, “While our acai bowls are the most popular, we’d also recommend checking out some of our other bases… or even mixing it up, like [ordering] a half-acai/half-pitaya bowl.”
Students will definitely have time to try a variety of bowls, because it appears that Playa Bowls will be a food destination for both local Bostonians and BC students far into the future. Not only is the shop easily accessible at its current location, but they also hope to expand and open more locations in the Boston area. If the response they have been receiving from BC students is any indication of future success, then the demand for Playa Bowls will only grow.