Will Long Island one day be the scene of acai-bowl wars? Could be. As the purple fruit continues its march across the snackscape, an LI-based chain, Bango Bowls, has opened its third location in just about a year.
Acai and pitaya bowls are the main attraction inside the newest neon-green Bango Bowls in East Setauket, which serves two signature bowls: The Bango Bowl of berries, banana and a trace of soy milk blended with organic acai, and a Pink Dragon, which pairs organic pitaya, aka dragon fruit, with strawberries, blueberries, flaked coconut and a touch of honey. Each cost $8 for a 16-ounce bowl.
Visitors can also customize their own bowls — rendering them as healthy or indulgent as they like — with toppings such as pineapple, peanut butter, chia seeds, goji berries, marshmallows and Nutella. Oatmeal bowls round out the offerings.
Another LI-based acai chain, SoBol, has over a dozen locations, while acai bowls continue to slink onto the menus at yogurt shops, juice bars, delis and other places.
Acai is a berry that grows primarily in Central and South America, and packs enough fiber, antioxidants and fatty acids to earn it the moniker of superfood.
Pitaya hails from the same part of the world, but has a more melony profile and a different suite of nutrients.
Brianca Mazo, the general manager of the East Setauket store, explains the differences between acai and pitaya: “The pitaya is really bright, very pineapply and apple-forward, while the acai is creamier and more banana-forward, and a healthy substitution for ice cream.”
Bango Bowls’ other Long Island locations are in Massapequa Park and Huntington, with a fourth coming to Bay Shore in February, Mazo said. They are owned by James Bonanno and David Johnson, who also own The Tap Room in Patchogue and Massapequa Park.
While its sister Bango Bowls serve cold-brewed coffee, the East Setauket spot does not.
Bango Bowls is open daily, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bango Bowls, 199 Main St., East Setauket, 631-364-9338 ,bangobowls.com