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A Sweet Welcome to Playa Bowls- Ocean City, Maryland

Bananas and coconut and strawberries- oh my! The latest craze has hit Route 50 just outside of Ocean City and it’s Playa Bowls! The delicious refreshing treat of fresh fruits, sweet toppings such as coconut and Nutella, topped with honey is the spot to be on a hot summer day.

A sweet experience at Playa Bowls OC.

Playa Bowls began with life long surfers, Abby Taylor and Rob Giuliani while living about a pizza place in Belmar on the Jersey Shore. The two discovered while chasing waves around the world that each exotic location had their own twist on an acai bowl (pronounced ah-cy-ee). Starting with a blender, small fridge and freezer, and a patio table, the duo became a hit on the boardwalk with vacationers and locals. They realized it was time to take their passion to the next level. Expanding into location such as Easton, Salisbury, and now Ocean City, Playa Bowls is exploding.

What Exactly Is an Acai Bowl?

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Choose your base fruit mixture then add in the toppings of your choice!

To be very honest, I went into this completely blind as I had always seen acai bowls in photos on Instagram, but never actually knew what they were. Franchise owner, Tony Giuliani, was extremely gracious to guide me and teach me through my first Playa Bowl experience. So, let me explain! First things first, an acai (ah-cy-ee) is an actual fruit from a palm tree grown in South America. It has its own taste that’s subtly sweet but not overbearing.

An acai bowl begins with a “base.” There are five main bases to choose from depending on your liking. A green base is a mixture of kale, pineapple, banana, and coconut milk. An acai base is a mixture of the highest quality acai berries and milk. A pitaya base is organic pitaya (or dragon fruit) blended with milk. A banana base is a mixture of banana, honey, and almond milk. And coconut base is a mixture of raw coconut, banana, and coconut milk. There is another bonus flavor mango, which has a very strong pronounced taste to it. All bases are blended ahead of time and frozen into large containers for scooping later. Imagine large tubs of colorful ice cream without the calories.

Top That!

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Strawberry, coconut, and blueberries are just some of the choices to top off your bowl.

Once you order your base, you can then add the freshest of fruit toppings to your base of choice. I went with a Nutelloco- a coconut base with added bananas and strawberries, topped with coconut flakes and raw cacao nibs and Nutella- minus the granola, just a personal preference. It tasted like a dessert, sweet with the sugar from the fresh fruits and cool from the frozen base. The drizzle of Nutella gave me just the right amount of sweet that I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth.

There are a wide range of toppings to pick from some crunchy like almond slices to sweet like coconut and white chocolate. For more of a natural sweetener they offer honey, bee pollen, and agave. For others who are looking for more nutritional based add ins, wheat grass and vegan proteins are also available to add into your mixture. This world is your playa bowl! And you can get whatever you want added on.

Allergy Safe for Many

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Giuliani wanted to bring a healthier option to OC families and vacationers.

As more and more people are learning about food intolerances and food allergies, including local franchise owner, Tony Giuliani, it was important to make sure everyone was included and had options. “There are several gluten free options as the granola is gluten free. We also offer several milk options such as almond, coconut, oat milk, and soy.”

State Trooper Approved

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Playa Bowls is a must try for everyone!

Officer Micah Spessato and Officer Dana Orndoff stopped in for their lunch break to check out the new place. Both gentlemen ordered hot oatmeal bowls, which is a base of steel cut oatmeal topped with whatever goodies you could imagine! Officer Spessato told me, “It was delicious and we’ll definitely be back.”

Employee Favorites

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Ask an employee for their recommendations or have them lead you through making your own bowl.

Owner Tony always goes for the healthy blend green bowls. I had the opportunity to try a green smoothie and the only way to describe it was “the freshest thing I’ve ever drank.” Mackenzie’s go-to is the Stupid Cupid, a base of banana, strawberry, spirulina, vanilla protein powder, flax oil, peanute butter, and cashew milk- with some toppings of granola, banana, chia seeds, with added peanut butter and bananas. Kelly also chooses the Stupid Cupid but likes to use a base of half green with peanut butter and strawberries. And not to be forgotten Rashaun goes for the acai bowl with strawberries, blueberries, topped with coconut flakes.

Community Supporters

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An extensive menu allows everyone to find something to fit their taste.

Giuilani is extremely happy to be offering a new healthier lifestyle of option to the Ocean City Community. It’s a great way to give options to people in the area that may not have been able to find it otherwise.

Giuilini also plans to help support local schools with Dine and Donate evenings where a percentage is earned back to the schools.  

Playa Bowls has it’s own app to download where you can order online and earn points towards future purchases for being a loyal customer. Playa Bowls is also on Door Dash and Grub Hub for order as well.

Flavorful Art to Match the Taste

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Artwork by @rockmyroom and @rockcandypaintcrew

When you walk in it’s hard not to notice the eye popping art work along the walls of Playa Bowl. With neon colors and nautical twists, the décor really makes you feel like you’re at the beach. The large shark jaw with the ship inside the mouth really caught my eye! The details of the teeth were mesmerizing! Then moving down the wall to the pineapple skull really had me. I had to do some digging. The walls were designed and painted by a team of artists lead by Ramona Schatzer who also happens to co-owner of Playa Bowls in Penn State! This traveling team has created murals all along the New York, New Jersey, and now Maryland areas! You need to check out some of their other walls on their Instagram @rockmyroom and @rockcandypaintcrew.

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Welcome to Pineapple Town!

Now that you know how to order a playa bowl, head on over to Playa Bowls Ocean City just a few shorts miles outside the route 50 bridge. It’s located in the shopping center along with Walmart and Home Depot. They are opened from 8am-9pm daily and plan to stay open in the off season as well. Thank you Tony for helping me find the perfect Playa Bowl and green smoothie. I will forever be a fan!

Katie Ruskey
Katie Ruskeyhttp://kruskeyauthor.com
Katie Ruskey is a local author, splitting her time between Baltimore and Ocean City. Her debut fiction novel, Marlin Week, was released in August 2022 based on three captains that fish in the infamous White Marlin Open. Her first children's book, The A B Seas of Ocean City, Maryland takes young readers on a tour of OC. For more information on how to purchase her books, visit her website www.kruskeyauthor.com or follow her on IG/FB at Katherine Ruskey Author.

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