Salad gets a center-of-the-plate upgrade

Salad gets a center-of-the-plate upgrade

BY NATION’S RESTAURANT NEWS – Last year, Vitality Bowls, the San Ramon, Calif.-based chain that specializes in acai bowls, added new superfood salad to its menu. The idea was to appeal to health-conscious consumers with something more than traditional lettuce-based salads, offering salads that pack a superfood punch.

The new salads are Spinach, made with fresh spinach, goat cheese, quinoa, strawberries, almonds and housemade balsamic vinaigrette; and Kale, made with kale, cucumbers, goat cheese, quinoa, celery and housemade Dijon vinaigrette. Customers have the option to add roasted turkey breast or seasoned, seared, grass-fed sirloin to either salad.

“As more people are becoming health conscious, they’re looking for creative meal options, so it’s important for us to provide unique flavor combinations while utilizing ingredients that match our superfoods cafe concept,” said Uriah Blum, vice president of operations. “We’re always recipe testing and researching new ingredients and hope to add to our salad offerings in the coming months.”

Vitality Bowls founder: ‘Leadership roles make great careers for mothers’

BY FAST CASUAL – Tara Gilad, founder of Vitality Bowls, was inspired to create the concept by her 2-year-old daughter’s struggle with food allergies.

“It was so hard to eat out as we had to ensure she was getting the best nutrients in restaurants that took allergies seriously,” said Gilad, who believes that mothers shouldn’t be afraid to take on leadership roles.

“It can be difficult being female in a male-dominated world, and I’ve often found myself discounted by men when dealing with them in various aspects of the business. I hope that in the coming years, an increase in the number of women leaders will have a positive effect on the industry.”

Got her start in the biz
After struggling to feed her daughter, who was suffering from food allergies in 2011, Gilad created Vitality Bowls, a brand she describes as a “casual super-food cafe where people eat nutritious super-foods from a kitchen that strives to avoid cross-contamination of common food allergy ingredients.”

On why women make great leaders
“I think many women are concerned with work/life balance and trying to manage having a family with the demands of leadership roles and/or owning their own business. However, I find being in a leadership role gives me more flexibility than a regular job. It’s a lot of late nights and coordination, but for the most part I’m able to schedule my work around my kids’ needs. Plus, I’m a wonderful role model to my daughter. I definitely encourage more women to create businesses of their own and a huge benefit is gaining more control over their schedules. Vitality Bowls has several women franchisees that now own their own business and are experiencing success.”

Advice to women looking to lead
Do it! Don’t be afraid. The positivity and rewards that come from it far outweigh the hard work and long hours.

Female execs offer advice about rising to the top of a male-dominated field

BY FAST CASUAL – In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8) I wanted to highlight some of the women who are already leading the way. I’m humbled to cover their accomplishments, whether it’s as CEO, the founder of a new concept or taking a leap of faith by opening a franchise. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Tara Gilad, Founder Vitality Bowls 

“It can be difficult being female in a male-dominated world, and I’ve often found myself discounted by men when dealing with them in various aspects of the business. I hope that in the coming years, an increase in the number of women leaders will have a positive effect on the industry.”

Got her start in the biz
After struggling to feed her daughter suffering from food allergies, in  2011, Gilad created Vitality Bowls, a casual superfood café where people could eat  nutritious superfoods from a kitchen that strived to avoid cross-contamination of common food allergy ingredients.

On why women make great leaders
“I think many women are concerned with work/life balance and trying to manage having a family with the demands of leadership roles and/or owning their own business. However, I find being in a leadership role gives me more flexibility than a regular job. It’s a lot of late nights and coordination, but for the most part I’m able to schedule my work around my kids’ needs. Plus, I’m a wonderful role model to my daughter. I definitely encourage more women to create businesses of their own and a huge benefit is gaining more control over their schedules. Vitality Bowls has several women franchisees that now own their own business and are experiencing success.”

Advice to women looking to lead
Do it! Don’t be afraid. The positivity and rewards that come from it far outweigh the hard work and long hours.

Vitality Bowls offers healthy ‘super’ foods

Vitality Bowls offers healthy ‘super’ foods

BY THE MERCURY NEWS – Vitality Bowls, the “superfood” restaurant launched in San Ramon by a couple whose daughter suffers from food allergies, has enlisted new allergy advocates as the enterprise expands throughout the Bay Area.

Brian and Kathy Hom, the San Jose parents who became EpiPen crusaders after their son B.J. died of a peanut allergy reaction while vacationing in Mexico, have joined forces with founders Tara and Roy Gilad to open two Vitality Bowls in South San Jose. Their first is at the new Village Oaks Plaza on Cottle Road and the second, due in April, will be on Cherry Avenue.

Besides offering antioxidant-rich acai bowls and other health-based fare, the Homs hope to provide a safe haven for diners with allergies.

That’s what spurred Tara Gilad in the first place: “Every place she went to eat, it wasn’t safe for her daughter,” says Uriah Blum, Gilad’s brother and now a Vitality exec.

So they created a menu of fruit-based bowls (the Warrior Bowl and the Dragon Bowl are among the most popular), smoothies, panini, salads and soup. All are made in non-cross-contamination kitchens, and no artificial preservatives or added sweeteners are used.

The Homs, who have raised more than $1 million for the allergy fight in the hope that B.J.’s death will help save others, now welcome diners who are driving up to two hours for food that can be made nut-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.

And they go a step further. “I stock the EpiPen here now,” Brian Hom says.

Details: Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday at 5660 Cottle Road. Other Vitality Bowls are in Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Castro Valley, Cupertino, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill, Newark, Palo Alto and Redwood City.