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BY THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE – Fast-casual restaurants aren’t often associated with health-conscious dining. But Vitality Bowls, whose antioxidant-rich menu is built on organic acai bowls, is a notable exception.

The Northern California-based brand with more than 40 stores will open its first Houston-area shop (the fifth in Texas) on Aug. 16 at 1520 West Bay Area Blvd. in Friendswood. The store’s franchisees, Jimmy and Jackie Thomas, plan to open three additional cafes in the Houston area.

Vitality Bowls was founded in 2011 in San Ramon, Calif., by Roy and Tara Gilad who wanted safe, healthy food alternatives after learning about their daughter’s severe food allergies. They created a restaurant with a menu based on superfood bowls, primarily organic acai berries with various fruit, seed, and nut toppings. Example is the signature Vitality Bowl made with a base blend of organic acai with bananas, strawberries and flax seed topped with organic granola, honey, bananas, strawberries and goji berries. Other bowls feature a base of dragon fruit, graviola fruit, and acerola fruit. The menu also offers healthy smoothies, juices, panini sandwiches, salads and soup.

The Friendswood store also will have a full-service coffee bar with espresso, organic cold brew nitrogen coffee and organic kombucha on tap.