Acai bowls like this one have been found to be the most popular choice amongst the wide range customers that Sweeberry reaches.

Photo by Mary Kett

Sweetberry, meet Elmhurst

September 6, 2018

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This bright Pitaya mixture is the second most popular order at Sweetberry.

With school just around the corner in our little town of Elmhurst, Kyle Kissane dropped a new conversation starter to our list of events: Sweetberry Bowls. With its bright colored walls, plants galore, and an intoxicating aroma of fresh fruit, this restaurant has been all the talk lately, and the talk doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

It’s no secret that for the past few years, the United States has undergone a huge health kick, demonstrated by the rise in attendance of gyms such as Spenga and Soulcycle, and the popularity of diets such as juice cleanses and veganism. In this day and age, it’s no surprise that smoothie bowls have become the main substitution for the sugary artificial sugary desserts we all love so fondly.

“It’’s more about health than anything”, Sweetberry bowl manager Christina Roberts said. “Some berries have antioxidants, some have fiber. There’s no sugar added except for the drizzles you add on which are honey, agave, Nutella, peanut butter, and almond butter. Everything is all natural.”

Smoothie bowls started off as a trendy and Instagrammable meal in LA. They eventually spread across the country as their popularity rose on social media sites such as Instagram and SnapChat, and soon they became extremely trendy and popular amongst people of all ages.

“Not only do we we decorate the fruit and lay it out so it looks pretty, but it’s super tasty. Every time we make a base we try it out and make sure it lives up to the expectations we want to promote,” said junior Ali Kenna, who has been an employee at Sweetberry since its opening in August.

While they also offer smoothies, salads, and oatmeal, the bowls have been Sweetberry’s claim to fame. The possible bases, or smoothie-like blends at the bottom of each bowl, are acai, greens, coconut, and pitaya.

“Our acai bowls are the most popular. Pitaya is our second one, which is dragonfruit,” Roberts said. “Each base is completely different, each has a different taste, each has different fibers or antioxidants that go into it, it really just depends on your taste buds and what you like.”

Despite health as one of the driving forces behind Sweetberrys Bowls’ popularity, many customers find themselves drawn to the appearance of their meals, or more specifically their bowls.

“I love acai bowls,” junior Melanie Petrillo said. “They’re just like so aesthetically pleasing.”

Not only is the food widely considered ‘aesthetically pleasing’, the creators of Sweetberry bowls have worked to make the inside of the store very bright and picture-esque.

“I thought it (the restaurant) was really bright and colorful and fun,” senior Nicki Anderson said.

The shop is located in the heart of Uptown Elmhurst, between Starbucks and York Theatre. This area is a popular hang-out spot for all the members of the community, which, according to Roberts, has helped boost business and sales.

“This is downtown Elmhurst; we have a college that’s nearby, a gym, and yoga studios in the area as well, so this is a prime area,” Roberts said. 

The central location of the shop has attracted lots of different crowds. As Roberts acknowledged, it is in close proximity to different schools and facilities. Families, students, and other community members of all ages have been visiting the shop.

“This is all natural, healthy food,” Roberts said. “We have parents coming in with little kids to have the bowls, teenagers are really excited to be here, especially after school they come in with a group, they sit there, do their homework, have a bowl or smoothie. So it ranges from all ages.”

With a variety of customers, it is hard to please everyone. There has been some dispute on the pricing of meals at Sweetberry Bowls. Compared to other local shops or restaurants, ten dollars for a simple breakfast meal seems a little too pricey.

“They’re a little too expensive for my taste; I’m a cheaper gal I like things to be under ten dollars,” Anderson said.

While some don’t see the price appeal to Sweetberry Bowls and their products, others find the health benefits and other factors worth their pretty penny.

“I think it (the price) is appropriate because all of our bowls are 100% fruit and juice,” employee Ali Kenna said. “We’re really healthy and it’s expensive to pay for all the different ingredients.”

Not only has Sweetberry Bowls been recognized for their efforts in their food making skills, but for the people skills as well.

“When I went there-there was a customer who needed to specialize some things because he had allergies and they accidentally put something on it that he was allergic to, and so they immediately took it back, apologized, and gave him a discount. They definitely tried to meet his needs and stuff, so that was really nice of them,” senior Riley Haug said.

While the Elmhurst location has been successful for the most part, the business is always looking to expand and grow. With summer winding down, Sweetberry Bowls is looking to adapt to the seasonal changes, as Sweetberry Bowls seems to be a summer-themed shop.

“There’s a bunch of things that we are playing around with. As of right now, the newest thing that we’re going to add to our menu for the season is a pumpkin kind of bowl or smoothie,” Roberts said. “That’s what we’re working on right now.”

If you haven’t tried Sweetberry Bowls yet, it’s not too late to grab yourself a bowl or salad.

“It’s a very cool, fun job. I’m glad I have it,” Kenna said. “I would recommend trying Sweetberry Bowls out if you ever have the opportunity to.”

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