Miller Place has itself a new açai bowl spot.
Brother and sister team Kenneth Ruben and Isabella Conte have opened the first Playa Bowls on Long Island. It’s located 347B NY-25A in Miller Place.
The smoothie bowl franchise with over 120 locations across the United States is the brainchild of Jersey Shore natives Robert Giuliani and Abby Taylor. They started the business as a makeshift pop-up — with just a blender, a patio table, a fridge, and a freezer outside a pizza shop in Belmar, New Jersey.
“We vacation in the Hamptons and Lavallette, New Jersey, which is where Joe Pesci lives,” Ruben said. “We’d go every summer and we’d see a crazy line wrapped around the [Playa Bowls] building in Belmar — we tried it and fell in love with it.”
Conte worked as a manager at a Bronxville location while in school and encouraged her brother to open a Playa Bowls spot of their own, Ruben said.
It took about four years to finally get the licensing to open a franchise store on Long Island.
“When they found out it was the first brother and sister team, they really loved that concept,” he said.
The Nov. 13 grand opening features free bowls for the first 50 customers and Playa Bowls concert t-shirts. Ten percent of the proceeds were donated to the Southampton Animal Shelter.
Playa Bowls offers a variety of smoothies bowls, such as the OG açai bowl, pitaya bowl, banana and green bowls.
Playa Bowls’ founders fell in love with the fresh açai and pitaya bowls during their surfing adventures in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, California and Hawaii, and decided to introduce the fresh ingredients to New Jersey.
Fresh fruit is delivered every morning, Ruben says, and there are no leftovers.
Plus, the bowls are aesthetically-pleasing and Ruben added that “the quality matches the pictures” on their social media.
Their menu also consists of more seasonal concoctions, like the pumpkin pie smoothies and “Apple-Turn up Açai Bowl” for the fall.
Good vibes radiate in the space and are reflected in the store’s vibrant, tropical décor, Ruben said.
The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive from the community and the orders have been non-stop, Ruben noted.
The duo already plans to open two other Playa Bowls in Stony Brook and Southampton some time in the early spring.
“It’s a feel-good atmosphere for everybody to have fun and you don’t really feel like you’re at work,” Ruben said. “It’s just a great meeting place, where people feel happy, can have an awesome Playa Bowl, hang out, and enjoy the music and the vibe.”
Top: Playa Bowls ribbon-cutting. Photo courtesy of Jane Brittingham Bonner Sandusky on Facebook.