Vitality Bowls Grand Rapids is a refreshing new addition to a popular plaza on 28th St

Hidden in a small strip of shops in the popular plaza on 28th street, which includes stores such as Ulta and Nordstrom Rack, lies a brand new health-oriented cafe. 

On November 2, Vitality Bowls Grand Rapids opened its doors to the public, releasing a full line of products such as smoothies, açaí bowls, and paninis for their customers to enjoy.

I was quite elated to hear of this new edition. 

I am constantly there to satisfy my makeup obsession at Ulta, and right across from the Ulta, there are a plethora of fast food places like Five Guys and a pizza place. Because of this, it was quite refreshing to see that there would finally be a healthier option for the plaza’s customers to enjoy.

Upon walking into the café, I was greeted with the comforting environment of grey shiplap walls and subtle accents of deep purple and vibrant orange color. While this may seem out of the ordinary, it gave the café a very lively feeling like many of their products aim to do.

What I found to be quite interesting about this establishment was the large number of non-açaí bowl related options it had for their customers to enjoy. 

While there was quite a large selection of bowls, the cafe also included a wide variety of smoothies, paninis, salads, and juices. Furthermore, in their fridge located next to the cash register, there was kombucha, regular (non-scary) juices, and energy shots.

When I entered the store and saw—specifically—the energy shots, I was quite intrigued. I was feeling quite courageous that day, so I decided to pick one of them up that advertised itself as being an immunity shot that included ingredients such as pineapple juice, black pepper, and ginger. 

I have to admit that I  felt as though I had to throw up afterward. However, because of the other customers around me, I tried to practice my deep breathing in order to try to override my nausea. 

For those who have stronger stomachs than I do, the shot may be just what you need if you are feeling a bit under the weather.

Though the café markets itself as being an açaí bowl oriented shop, I found myself more interested in the other options that were listed upon the board.

My eyes were immediately drawn towards the smoothies as they had a wide variety to choose from. 

I also thought it was interesting that they had a pretty lengthy list of panini options. I would have figured, based on the name of the cafe, that there would be more of a focus of açaí bowls and smoothies.

After staring at the board for what seemed to be forever thanks to my indecisiveness, I decided to choose the Tropical Paradise smoothie and the Eggnini panini.

Something else that I found to be quite delightful, especially for all of the lactose-intolerant people like myself, was that they also offered different “milk” products as substitutes. For example, my smoothie originally had coconut milk in it, however, I simply asked if they could change it to almond milk—and without hesitation—the friendly employee assured me that they could do that.

With only two employees working that day, and the large quantity of customers, I was highly impressed that my order came out relatively quickly. 

Upon my first sip of my smoothie, I instantly realized something that is quite rare these days: it tasted real. Rather than sickly sweet sugar or fake tasting fruit, I could tell instantly that the smoothie was made with real, fresh fruit.

Though it did not pack a powerful punch, it instead had a raw sweetness to it that I found to be very surprising.

What I was also surprised by was the panini that I was served. 

Like the smoothie, the panini was all real.

The egg was not frozen and then reheated, the spinach and pesto were light and flavorful, and the bread tasted as though it was made fresh.

Prior to its arrival, I was frightened that it would resemble something that one would get at Starbucks, which is a reheated frozen sandwich. However, upon opening its packaging, I quickly discovered that my fears would not be coming true.

It is quite rare today to find a quick-service establishment that produces fresh food. Vitality Bowls is something quite unique in Grand Rapids, and for anyone looking for such an experience, it is without a doubt the place to go.