INDIAN TRAIL – As temperatures outside continue to rise, it’s important to stay cool, hydrated and refreshed. According to Dennis Carroll, there’s no better place than Indian Trail’s new healthy hangout, Frutta Bowls.
Carroll and his wife, Toni, of Waxhaw, opened the fresh fruit eatery last month in Sun Valley Commons. The New Jersey-based chain was started by their family friend, Brooke Gagliano, and now boasts over a dozen locations in New Jersey, Alabama and the Carolinas.
At Frutta Bowls, customers can build their own smoothie bowl from four different bases – organic Açaí, kale, organic pitaya or a superfood mixture of all three – and pick their own toppings. There are also over 15 pre-made options, like the Frutella Bowl, which has an Açaí base with granola, banana, strawberries, Nutella, peanut butter and coconut flakes on top.
Carroll’s favorite is the Hulk Bowl, which has a kale smoothie base with vanilla whey protein, granola, mango, strawberries, blueberries, honey and peanut butter.
The eatery also has oatmeal bowls, smoothies and catering packages.
After agreeing to franchise a Frutta Bowls location, Carroll searched for the perfect spot for months. He eventually chose a space in Sun Valley Commons because of the lack of healthy eating options in Indian Trail and the close proximity to Sun Valley middle and high schools. He said there are also sports fields nearby and the Sun Valley 14 movie theater brings customers in as well.
Jessica Young, of Stallings, brought her 1.5-year-old daughter Ellie to Frutta Bowls for the first time on May 11. Young said she works nearby and noticed it recently opened, so they gave it a try.
“It’s a good healthier option for a snack,” Young said. “Ellie likes fresh fruit and I’m kind of picky with what she eats, so that’s why we decided snack time would be this.”
People can’t seem to get enough of smoothie bowls, which are packed with nutrient-rich foods and represent one of the fastest-growing health food trends. While there are similar places popping up, Carroll said the variety of menu options and the craftsmanship that goes into each order sets Frutta Bowls apart.
“Aesthetically, it looks pleasing,” he said. “Unlike other smoothie places, our bowls are clear, so you can see all of the colors and it makes for a great picture. Everybody takes pictures in here for their social media.”
Opening Frutta Bowls was a big risk for Carroll, who was working at a chemical company when first presented with the franchise opportunity, but so far it’s been a success. Carroll said he enjoys working alongside his daughters – aged 19 and 22 – at the eatery and feeling like he’s part of the Indian Trail community.
If all goes well, he hopes to open a second Frutta Bowls location, possibly in his hometown of Waxhaw.
“I love it. This is me. I love being out. It’s fun,” Carroll said. “I love coming here and talking to people and I try to get to know everyone and remember everyone’s names because I think that’s really important.”
Want to go?
Frutta Bowls is located in Sun Valley Commons at 6461 E. Old Monroe Road, Indian Trail. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.