Bahia bowls adds a fast, healthy option to Hill food scene

by April Lisante
Posted 9/24/20

There is a refreshing new shop to explore this fall, one that fills a healthy food niche for the Hill.

Smoothie lovers and those who want to experiment with acai bowls, pitaya bowls and spinach …

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Bahia bowls adds a fast, healthy option to Hill food scene

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There is a refreshing new shop to explore this fall, one that fills a healthy food niche for the Hill.

Smoothie lovers and those who want to experiment with acai bowls, pitaya bowls and spinach and kale-based green bowls will be ecstatic over the new Bahia Bowls franchise, which recently opened on the Avenue.

Local real estate property manager Walter Lapidus and two business partners have been working on the opening for nearly a year. They were originally shooting to open in March before the pandemic hit, but finally debuted the new location July 11 at 8136 Germantown Ave. beside the Stagecrafters Theater near Bredenbeck’s Bakery.

Owning the franchise and being in the food business is a new “learning experience” for Lapidus, of Wyndmoor, who works in real estate and also sits on the Springfield Township school board.

“I think what we offer is a place we believe Chestnut Hill needed and we love being here because of the atmosphere, the vitality and the vibe of Chestnut Hill,” Lapidus said.

The Chestnut Hill Bahia Bowls was the first franchise location for the company, which is based in Estero, Fl.  The company began franchising out locations only this past summer. Bahia Bowls touts that smoothies are a $5 billion a year industry in the U.S. and bowls are an emerging food trend as well. There are now only Bahia Bowls locations in Chestnut Hill, Florida and Texas at this point.

The franchise has a similar business concept to both Juice Pod and Playa Bowls, two different companies which have various locations in the area as well.

How Lapidus fell into the smoothie business is a story only a dad would understand. He has two daughters, one a freshman in college and another in her junior year of high school. Both love smoothies and lamented that Chestnut Hill didn’t have a place where they could get the drinks and bowls. They were frequenting a smoothie place in Willow Grove and convinced him to give it a try here.

“They kept saying ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had something like that in Chestnut Hill?’” he said.

So Lapidus asked local friends Michael Dvorkin and Boris Karol to partner with him, and they began contemplating the idea last year. One thing Lapidus really wanted was a place with “an easy to understand menu.”

“It’s a limited menu with enough for everyone but not so much that they are overwhelmed,” Lapidus said. “The appeal was the easy to understand menu.”

Customers can order smoothies or choose an acai bowl, with an acai base and toppings, a pitaya bowl, green bowl or oatmeal bowl.

The acai base is made of pureed acai berries which are frozen to create a consistency similar to a frozen ice. Pitaya, on the other hand, is derived from a type of cactus. One variety includes the more familiar dragon fruit.

Toppings for the bowls range from fruits to granola, coconut and honey. Smoothies can be customized with fruits, veggies and added protein. Prices range from $8 to $10 a bowl and smoothies are about $7.

They were hoping to have the shop opened by March, until the pandemic hit. Now, they are looking forward to the fall, and to attracting Hill residents looking for convenient, quick and healthy food to go.

“It fits a niche here in Chestnut Hill for healthy food,” Lapidus said.

And yes, his daughters are thrilled. You may even see one of them behind the counter, serving up your vitamin-packed orders.

Bahia Bowls, 8136 Germantown Ave. 215-390-1881. Mon. to Sat. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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