Cool weather heats up coffee drink creativity

BY NATION’S RESTAURANT NEWS – As temperatures cool down, operators turn up the creative heat on tempting coffee beverages that combine such tantalizing ingredients as exotic fruit syrups, bold, spicy flavorings, fresh herbs and non-sugar sweeteners. Consumers are all-in, and experimentation is the order du jour.

“Salted caramel and cookie butter are gaining traction as consumers look to sweet and savory flavors,” says David Commer, president of Commer Beverage Consulting. “Combination flavors such as s’mores are also popular. Pumpkin and peppermint obviously come to mind during this time of year. Chocolate is always a favorite, particularly when paired with another flavor like peppermint. Cinnamon, hazelnut, vanilla and caramel are as popular as ever.”

Among coffee drinkers in the United States the average consumption is 3.1 cups per day, according to the National Coffee Association. Specialty coffee sales are increasing by 20 percent annually and account for nearly 8 percent of the $18 billion U.S. market.

Indeed, specialty coffee drinks are becoming ubiquitous. To that end, coffee choices on menus are more competitive than ever — featuring ingredients such as maple syrup, honey, cardamom, tarragon, banana reductions, pumpkin spices, caramel flavorings, malt powders and lavender. Herb-and botanical-infused coffees are also gaining traction at restaurants.

California’s Vitality Bowls

Restaurants do best when the beverage menu works well with the food offerings. The Pitaya Latte at Vitality Bowls, the San Ramon, Calif.-based superfood café with more than 50 units, is a case in point. The drink is a blend of pitaya with organic espresso, coconut milk and organic coconut sugar.

“We knew we wanted to come up with a superfood coffee menu to coincide with our existing offerings. We started testing a variety of superfoods infused with organic espresso and came up with the Pitaya Latte,” says Uriah Blum, vice president of operations.

The restaurant also menus the Açai Almond Milk Latte, açai blended with almond milk and coconut sugar, and Superfood Mocha, which is organic superfood drinking chocolate and steamed milk. The chain’s best-selling coffee beverage is the Superfood Mocha.

Today’s coffee beverages are a far cry from yesterday’s basic offerings. With such creativity it’s anybody’s guess what tomorrow will bring. “The sky is the limit,” says Commer.” I think marketers’ and operators’ pursuit of the next new thing is endless.”

Vitality Bowls Superfood Café opens in Smithtown

Vitality Bowls Superfood Café opens in Smithtown

BY NEWSDAY – The ever-swelling world of superfoods has its own lexicon, littered with exotic-sounding names such as acerola, pitaya, graviola (aka soursop), CaCoCo. and the grand dame of them all, acai.

All of these items can be found in various iterations at Vitality Bowls Superfood Café, which opened on Smithtown’s Main Street recently.

It is the 45th location of a fast-growing chain that started in San Ramon, California, in 2011, and the first Vitality Bowls in New York State. Franchisee Marlene Durai, also a Pilates instructor, plans to open two more locations in Suffolk County.

Vitality Bowls – Healthy Eating Opens In Smithtown

BY SMITHTOWN MATTERS – Vitality Bowls, which specializes in açaí bowls – a thick blend of the Amazon’s antioxidant-rich açaí berry, topped with a variety of superfoods – announced the opening of its café in Smithtown. The new franchise location will be the first in New York and the first for Marlene Durai, who plans to open two additional cafés on Long Island.

“For fellow Long Islanders who are looking for healthy, great tasting food options, Vitality Bowls is going to be a major game-changer,” said Durai, who is also a certified Pilates instructor. “Vitality Bowls is unlike any other fast-casual eatery option in Smithtown. I can’t begin to describe the excitement I have to be pairing together my passions for wellness and business to open the first New York café.”

Slated to open on October 5, the new restaurant is located at 96 E. Main St. in Smithtown. The new restaurant will be the first Vitality Bowls location in New York, joining the 43 locations based nationwide.  Delivery and catering will also be available along with easy ordering using Vitality Bowl’s mobile app.

Originating in Northern California, Vitality Bowls has solidified itself as America’s superfood café – combining a dynamic, trendy café vibe with a unique collection of menu items containing high nutritional values and extraordinary tastes. Vitality Bowls offers an antioxidant-rich menu, with breakfast, lunch and dinner items made to order for each customer. All açaí bowls and smoothies do not contain ingredient fillers such as ice, frozen yogurt, added sugar or artificial preservatives, giving the purest taste possible.

The menu features a variety of options, such as the Energy Bowl (with organic açaí, goji berries and bee pollen), the Dragon Bowl (featuring organic pitaya, coconut milk and bananas) and their signature Vitality Bowl (with organic açaí, strawberries and honey). Additionally, the brand recently debuted Egg Panini made with organic, cage-free eggs and Superfood Waffles. Plus, fresh juices, soups, panini and salads are available in each café.

The eatery will also include a full-service organic coffee bar, complete with espresso and superfood drinks that are packed with antioxidant-rich açaí, pitaya and matcha – for example, the Açaí Latte (espresso, açaí, coconut sugar, steamed almond milk) or the Superfood Mocha(espresso, CaCoCo superfood chocolate blend, steamed milk). Organic kombucha in a variety of flavors will also be available on-tap.

“We created Vitality Bowls to be a place where health-conscious individuals can go for a nutritional meal,” said Tara Gilad, founder and owner of Vitality Bowls. “We believe that healthy, great tasting food can be an option for fast casual food and we are excited to have Marlene introduce the brand in New York. We look forward to seeing her grow her business on Long Island and sharing the Vitality Bowls message with the community.”

Since launching in 2011, the brand has ignited significant growth. In 2014, the concept began franchising and now has nearly 70 locations open and in development across the country.

‘Superfood’ cafe brings taste of the Amazon to Tualatin

‘Superfood’ cafe brings taste of the Amazon to Tualatin

BY THE TUALATIN TIMES – Vitality Bowls will offer nutritious, exotic meals starting next week at Nyberg Rivers.

Coming soon, a new restaurant will join the ranks of eateries at the Nyberg Rivers shopping center. Vitality Bowls is slated to open Thursday, Oct. 12, as the first of its kind in Oregon.

The California-based cafe specializes in nutrient-dense “superfood” ingredients such as acai, a berry that grows on palm trees in the Brazilian rain forest and boasts a high concentration of antioxidants. Vitality Bowls blends the frozen berries into a thick consistency and using no fillers, such as ice or yogurt, to create nutritious bowls that supposedly taste as great as they make you feel.

The taste is “a completely unique experience,” according to Jeff Madden, owner of the cafe. He describes the flavor as “mildly sweet — vaguely similar to cacao.” Topped with fresh fruit and “awesome” granola, the bowls are nutritious and surprisingly filling, said Madden.

In addition to the superfood bowls and smoothies, fresh paninis and salads offer different menu options for those leery of the acai bowls. Organic kombucha and a coffee bar complete a scene that invites customers to linger — or grab a healthy meal and caffeine on the go. The superfood cafe is also hyper-focused on providing a worry-free experience for those with food allergies, with a kitchen set-up that eliminates risk of cross-contamination, said Madden.

Madden is confident the cafe will fit well into the fabric of the Tualatin community.

“Oregonians are very focused on health, and high quality,” he said. He believes Vitality Bowls will provide just the treat.

The cafe will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week. Its address is 7935 S.W. Nyberg St., Suite 135.