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BY FAST CASUAL – 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 this week the opening of its café in Castro Valley, California. The new franchise location will be the first for Debra Ochoa, who plans to open one additional café in San Leandro, according to a company press release.

“From the first bite I took from an açaí bowl at Vitality Bowls, I knew it was the start of a new journey for me,” Ochoa said. “The incredible taste of the fresh ingredients and the feeling it provides is just an unbeatable combination.”

Slated to open Dec. 10, the new restaurant will be located at 20668 Rustic Dr., and will be the 16th Vitality Bowls café in California joining the 19 locations based nationwide.

“Simply put, 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 food can be an option for fast casual food and we are excited to have Debra on board. We look forward to seeing Debra grow her business in Castro Valley and sharing the Vitality Bowls message with the community.”

Launched in 2011, the concept began franchising last year and within the past 12 months has signed development deals for nearly 40 units. Today, there are currently 19 open and operating with additional units in development.