By Sophia Ricco
It may be hard to pronounce, but açaí – it’s pronounced ah-sah-EE – sure is easy to devour when it comes from SoBol in Huntington Village.
This SoBol on New York Avenue, just south of Main Street, is the sixth opened by the Patchogue based company that has found itself ripe with success since first opening in Sayville in 2014. Specializing in health foods, SoBol has tapped into a growing base of health-conscious consumers. Since franchising, SoBol has 25 shops across the Northeast.
SoBol of Huntington was opened August 2017 and meets an apparent demand for healthy alternatives in the village.
“It’s a food that’s not a trend, but a lifestyle,” said Paul Gucciardo of Huntington, a partner/owner of the store and director of operations for SoBol. “It’s something that’s not just good for you, but tastes great as well.”
The most popular item on the menu is the açaí bowl, a clear favorite for its health benefits and sweet berry taste. A classic bowl will have a blend of frozen açaí berries, strawberries, bananas and a splash of soy milk, topped with granola, bananas, berries, shredded coconut, and drizzled honey. This is the recommended bowl for first-time customers, Gucciardo said.
SoBol’s menu is dairy-free, and can be customized to alleviate food allergy concerns.
“If you came in and had a banana allergy, not only would we not put bananas on top, we would make a special blend for you without bananas in it,” Gucciardo said. “If you have a nut allergy, we have nut-free granola and would make the bowl at a separate station.”
SoBol encourages açaí lovers to take their açaí bowls to the next level with specialty toppings like chia seeds and natural almond butter. Take it even further by ordering it on a Belgian Liege waffle. SoBol partnered with Waffatopia to provide hand rolled, vanilla cinnamon waffles made with non-GMO, high-purity pearl sugar to ensure bowls stay healthy.
“This is something new we introduced this year, to add a hot item to our menu,” Gucciardo said.
In October, SoBol launched the green bowl. It has a similar structure to an açaí bowl but instead blends spinach, kale, banana, mango and a splash of almond milk, then tops it with blueberry, strawberry, mango, shredded coconut, and honey. If you’re looking for unique flavor, try the pitaya bowl or drink your nutrients in a smoothie. Rest assured, every ingredient will be high quality.
“We’re very diligent in making sure it’s the right product 100 percent of the time,” Gucciardo said.
SoBol stays attentive to the service their employees provide, setting a high standard for customer relations and interactions.
Employees are expected to take pride in their work.
“When we open new stores, something we tell all the new staff is that customer service is a lost art and we need to focus on that,” Gucciardo said. “When I ask them to give me examples of places with great customer service, few are named. But when I ask about poor customer service, there’s a lot more examples.”
Not only should service be top-notch, but workers must be well-educated on their menus ingredients and health benefits. Açaí is antioxidant-packed, and nutrient-dense, improves cholesterol levels and boosts brain function.
“When a customer comes into a SoBol, they’re assuming that the employee is an authority on açaí,” Gucciardo said.
SoBol sees a broad demographic of customers. People of all ages benefit from eating well. Their location in the village puts them in a tough spot for parking, which is why they introduced curbside pick-up and deliver through Uber Eats.
The business owners emphasize giving back to the community that supports them. In Huntington they have partnered with the YMCA and St. Patrick’s Church on Main Street.
They support local entrepreneurs as well, sourcing local-made coffee, cold brew, kombucha and iced tea.
339 New York Avenue