Jamie Mitchell of Pinnacle REA and Solveig Tschudi Lawrence of Howard Eckard and Company bring new açai bowl concept Sunshine Bowls to East Colfax near East High school
A SoCal wave is hitting City Park.
Sunshine Bowls, a food truck selling açai bowls made popular in Hawaii and Southern California, is opening its first brick-and-mortar this summer.
Ryan Keuter, 36, started Sunshine Bowls with his brother Richard in June 2015 after they saw a lack of Denver businesses selling açai bowls. Now, he’s taking his menu of smoothie bowls — topped with granola and fruit slices — to a stationary location.
“Not only did we see such a positive response from customers and individuals, but just seeing that there’s a lack of supply, we really felt this was the time to develop the brand, expand the menu and have a centralized location for people to come to,” Keuter said.
Sunshine Bowls will move into a 1,200-square-foot space at 2600 E. Colfax Ave. in July or August. It’s renting the space from Dazbog Coffee founder Anatoly Yuffa for about $4,000 per month, and will hire six to eight employees.
To fund the enterprise, Keuter received a $67,500 SBA loan that he said will go mostly toward construction. The firm hired architect Neo Era to design the store, which will seat about 12 people inside and 15 on the outdoor patio.
At Colfax, Sunshine will expand on its food truck menu to include six smoothie options and six to eight juices, in addition to four açai bowls and four dragonfruit bowls.
The company isn’t the only one serving açai bowls in Denver – it competes with Rush Bowls, Superfruit Republic and ProsperOats, among others.
“When we first started, there was no competition … outside Jamba Juice,” Keuter said. “I think everybody does something a little bit different. We’re really differentiating ourselves product-wise.”
One of Sunshine’s most popular bowls, the Pow-Pow Bowl, blends açai and other fruits with peanut butter and coconut milk served with cacao nibs. The bowls cost between $6 and $9.
“We’ve looked at our competitors that are in the market, and their prices are a little bit higher than we are,” Keuter said. “We wanted to maintain that pricing level just because we thought it was attainable for people.”
Sunshine joins a handful of Denver area food trucks that have traded wheels for permanent spots, including the Cluck Truck opening in the Dive Inn and Jozi’s Kitchen & Shebeen in Parker. Mobile clothing boutique Patterns and Pops set up shop on Platte in February.
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