College Park will have its own smoothie bowl restaurant by next month.
Frutta Bowls, a New Jersey-based smoothie bowl company established in 2016, is expecting to open a location in this city by the second week of April. It will be located underneath The Varsity, next to Bobby's Burger Palace.
"Everyone is health-conscious now," said College Park location co-owner Robert Calavetta. "They're looking for different variety and this is definitely trending."
Smoothie bowls are thicker than traditional smoothies, served in bowls and often topped with nuts, seeds and large pieces of fruit. They are more filling than smoothies and intended to be alternatives to meals, College Park location co-owner Kelsey Healy said.
Frutta Bowls has acai, pitaya, kale and oatmeal bases. Their toppings include granola, peanut butter, honey, coconut and kiwi. None of the bowls have added sugar, Healy said.
The smoothie bowls at Frutta Bowls will each cost about $11, Healy said. Traditional smoothies are also offered there for about $7, she said.
"Instead of going out to a burger place for lunch, you could have one of these bowls for a meal replacer," Healy said. "It sounds a little pricey, but at the same time it's like going out for a meal."
Kaity Krull, a junior government and politics major, said she's "a smoothie person" and would likely check out Frutta Bowls when it opens. She wasn't sure if the bowls could be a meal replacement, but said they seem aesthetically pleasing.
"I see them on Instagram a lot," she said.
Sophomore government and politics major Alawi Masud said he doesn't understand the popularity of smoothie bowls.
"You're getting rid of the whole purpose of smoothies. … I'm not going to sit down and eat a smoothie, that's just preposterous," Masud said. "Eat a fruit salad at that point."
Sophomore environmental science and technology major Charles Blackwood said he thinks the food at campus dining halls is not always the healthiest, and smoothie bowls seem like a good alternative.
"That's about the same price as any meal around here anyway," Blackwood said, "so I feel like that would probably be a good replacement for a lot of people who are trying to eat healthier."
The company's social media presence and construction should be ramping up in the next couple of weeks, Calavetta said.
Healy said the company expects to have 50 locations by January. Smoothie bowls originated on the West Coast decades ago, Healy said, but they've started coming to the East Coast in the past three years.
Frutta Bowls is focusing on college campuses because the demographics for smoothie bowls are college-age, health-conscious people, Calavetta said.
This university also has a lot of students from New Jersey, Calavetta said, which will help with brand recognition.
"It's definitely something different and I think it's going to be a great addition to the university," Calavetta said.