It’s that time of the year. As we usher in January, we resolve to lead healthier lifestyles, beginning with the food we eat. Oola Bowls, a berry bowl and smoothie café, is passionate about people and good food. What began in 2018 as a food truck and then a stand at Lancaster Central Market, will soon grow to include a dozen locations.
Oola Bowls has become known for its signature açaí bowls. Native to Brazil, açaí berries are regarded as a “super fruit,” because they are packed with antioxidants, fiber and essential fatty acids. Oola Bowls founders, Joe Ferderbar and Brock Snider, sampled açaí bowls during their various travels and decided to bring this flavorful and nutritious food to Lancaster County. But before launching Oola Bowls, the business partners spent time researching the best source of açaí berry sorbet (the base of the bowls) in an effort to find one that offered superior taste but wasn’t loaded with fillers.
“We believe that nutritious products can help you live your best life,” Joe says. “Our goal is to offer the best açaí bowls, as well as a great customer experience. We’re in a new industry, so part of what we do is educate first-time customers about açaí. Generally, if people try it, they really like it.”
Oola Bowls’ menu includes açaí and pitaya (or dragon fruit) bowls, as well as smoothies, coffee and snacks. The signature Oola Bowl is comprised of organic açaí, peanut butter, Grandma’s Granola (made using Brock’s grandmother’s recipe), bananas, strawberries, blueberries, chia, honey and coconut. The pitaya bowl features organic pitaya, a choice of paçoca or Grandma’s Granola, bananas, strawberries, pineapple and coconut. Customers may also create their own açaí or pitaya bowls.
Snacks include Peanut Butter Oola Bites, Peanut Butter Chip Oola Bites and Nutella Oola Bites. Seasonal menus feature special bowls, snacks (such as Peppermint Mocha Oola Bites and gingerbread granola), and drinks (blue agave lemonade and nitro cold brew or tea).
Are you game to savor an Oola Bowl? Thanks to expansion, Oola Bowls are popping up all over Lancaster, as well as neighboring counties. In addition to Oola Bowls’ Lancaster Central Market stand, there are Oola Bowls locations on Fruitville Pike in Manheim Township, at The Shops @ Rockvale and in Intercourse. Beyond Lancaster, the Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market in Reading and a location in Lebanon are home to Oola Bowls. Two seasonal locations can be found at Hersheypark. The newest location in York opened in the fall. Several of these locations are franchises. “Franchises are the future of Oola Bowls,” Joe explains. “It’s a great way to expand our footprint.” Joe reports that Oola Bowls has recently completed franchise agreements for locations in Ephrata, Wyomissing (Berks County) and East York.
To assist franchisees, the partners developed a branding guide for décor and signage. Oola Bowls locations share a common décor, with the signature color being purple (specifically HEX#8C4799), a hue that reflects the açaí berries’ purple skin. Oola Bowls’ logo is imposed on a wood wall, while a “wave” wall features two shades of purple in a wave pattern.
“Some of these elements are from our first food truck,” Joe notes. “Our Rockvale location is a white building with purple accents. Before it opened, we got a lot of calls asking if it would be one of our locations just based on the paint scheme.” A few of the Oola Bowls locations have drive-thrus, while the Lebanon and York locations offer both indoor and outdoor seating.
Expansion has been a learning process for Joe and Brock, as well. “Everything on our menu is made to order,” Joe explains. Seeing people leave the line because it was taking too long at the Central Market location prompted a change early on. “We worked hard to streamline our process, so now we get bowls out rather quickly,” Joe reports.
Rest assured, an Oola Bowl is well worth your time. Here’s to your health!
Oola Bowls menu, locations and hours are available at oolabowls.com.