Açai bowls — those fruity concoctions like smoothies you eat with a spoon — may be a trend but they certainly aren’t a fad, say the three owners of Big Kahuna Bowl. Christopher Tennis, Elliot Gruver and Howard Choe Miyashiro who were all born on Oahu.
“We’ve all been getting açai bowls there for the last 10 years,” Choe Miyashiro says. “It’s only just getting popular in Oregon now, though.”
Choe Miyashiro has lived in Oregon since 2002, moving first to Portland and then Eugene, where he’s been for the past eight years. “We feel like Eugene is ready for it,” he says. “But it was a leap of faith. We all put everything we had into the opening.”
The açai berry comes from Brazil, where açai bowls are typically nothing more than the berry puree and banana. “It was in Hawaii that people started adding all the tropical fruit to it,” Choe Miyashiro says.
At Big Kahuna Bowls, diners choose from a base of thick puree of purple açai or bubblegum pink
dragonfruit, called pitaya. The bowls are topped with a rainbow of fruit including banana, strawberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, kiwi and dried goji berries.
Add delicious goodies such as granola, coconut flakes, honey, bee pollen and flax, chia or hemp seeds, and you have a delicious and filling meal or treat.
“We all eat açai bowls religiously,” Gruver says. “It’s an alternative to ice cream or it’s a healthy breakfast. You can eat it for any meal really, and feel satisfied.”
All bowls are customizable with options for dietary restrictions such as gluten-free granola, almond butter and agave syrup in place of honey. Organic options are important to the owners — dry goods come from Hummingbird Wholesale and ingredients are Northwest-sourced whenever possible.
Big Kahuna Bowls opened March 2, and though they haven’t done much to get the word out, customers have found them nonetheless. “The first weekend was really rough!” Choe Miyashiro says. “We’ve worked out the kinks since then.”
While Tennis remains in Hawaii and Gruver is in Eugene for now, Gruver will likely return to Hawaii and open a Big Kahuna Bowls there as well. Choe Miyashiro plans to add cold-pressed juices in a grab-and-go case in the store, and he hints at the possibility that there might be another
Big Kahuna Bowls is open 10 am – 7 pm Tuesday to Sunday at 1351 Willamette Street. Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/B.K.Bowls.