The Fruitful Addition of Playa Bowls to Princeton

Athena West, Staff Writer

You have seen the distinct pineapple logo all over people’s laptops, but now you can finally see the real sign in your own town. Playa Bowls, the “go-to” restaurant at the Jersey Shore, will be opening at a new location in Princeton this upcoming spring. The chain originally began in Belmar, New Jersey, but once their few customers turned into hundreds, they started to expand throughout the state and country. Robert Giuliani, one of the founders of the company, said that, “Princeton has been a target location for Playa Bowls for the last two years. When the Palmer Square location became available to us, and it being across the street from Halo Pub, it was a no-brainer. Palmer Square has such a great, unique feeling to it, just like Playa Bowls.” By the end of summer 2018, Playa Bowls will have over fifty locations up and running.

Regardless of the time of year or location, when walking into a Playa Bowls, customers instantly feel a fresh breeze of summer. The entire atmosphere delivers a relaxed, beachy vibe, elevated by the choice of decor: surfboards, pineapples, and bursts of bright colors swarm the premises of each shop. Giuliani and the other co-founder, Abby Taylor, are both very involved in surf culture, originally coming up with the concept of their brand after traveling on surf trips around the world. Upon returning from one of their many trips, Giuliani and Taylor realized that “there were no real viable health food options at the Jersey Shore.” Inspired by foods they ate while away, Giuliani and Taylor wanted to promote and explain the benefits of natural fruits and decided to make and sell their own fruit bowls.

Playa Bowls’ most popular food options include their well-known acai and pitaya bowls; their top sellers are the Electric Mermaid bowl (pitaya) and the Nutella bowl (acai). The shop also serves smoothies, other fruit-based bowls, juices, fresh-made honey, and more recently, poke bowls at select locations. Some of their bestselling toppings include Nutella, coconut flakes, chia seeds, and granola. Depending on the time of year, Playa Bowls also serves seasonal dishes, such as oatmeal in the winter and soup in the fall.

Ever since I first began venturing to the Jersey Shore, Playa Bowls has always been my go-to place. Despite the occasional hour-long waiting line, the delicious flavors that are inside one small bowl make the tiresome wait worth it. When stepping inside the shop, it almost seems as though I am walking into the homes of the staff. The fun relationship between the employees and customers make Playa Bowls an extremely friendly environment to be a part of. Even when it is deep in the winter, I will stop by the closest Playa Bowls to purchase my favorite option: the Pink Flamingo. The great feeling of summer always rushes through the inside of the store, making me feel as if I am back in July.

With a large variety of fruit-based treats, Playa Bowls is a fun location where customers can step out of the daily rigor of life for a small beach break. Giuliani and Taylor both hope that the joy they feel when showing up to work every day projects onto their valued employees and customers, so that everyone can experience the beach vibes they adore. The new Princeton location will be much more convenient for acai lovers, bringing summer all year-round to Mercer County residents.