BEREA, Ohio – Business partners Michael Todia and Susan DiMassa spent a lot of time mulling the right location for an eatery – eight to 10 years, in fact.
Between their intent to offer healthy foods and what they deem a “perfect location” in Berea, “Everything just seemed to fall in place,” Todia said.
They are planning to open a Vitality Bowls location close to Baldwin Wallace University in early 2023 and are scouting for a spot in Brecksville as well for the superfoods cafe.
“Superfoods” are healthy, natural, high-nutrient, low-calorie foods.
Todia sums their motivation in a clear way: “We’d rather pay the grocer than pay the doctor. And we firmly believe what you put in your body is very important for your immune system.”
California-based Vitality Bowls is in 19 states with 145 open or in-development locations. Roy and Tara Gilad founded the company in 2011 and began franchising in 2014. Two are in Ohio – Rocky River and Pickerington, outside of Columbus
Todia and DiMassa said the Gilads created Vitality Bowls because they wanted to find food their daughter with severe allergies could eat “without worry,” Todia said.
They both said the concept is right for the area, a region they know well. Todia, who has worked in the chemical-paints industry for more than 30 years, is from Parma Heights. DiMassa grew up in Parma and is an accountant. They live in North Royalton.
“Our location in Berea is perfect. It’s right across the street from Baldwin Wallace – 347 Front Street,” said Todia, who added it’s walking distance from the rec center and is situated between two student parking lots.
The Berea space, which they own, will be about 1,380 square feet, including kitchen. A patio is planned. Inside seating can accommodate 20 to 22 people.
“Brecksville is just another one of those communities that is health-conscious. I really have never seen anything fail in Brecksville,” he said.
“Brecksville residents tend to support local business,” DiMassa said. “It’s just a good community.”
The menu features nutritious alternatives to usual fast-casual offerings. It will emphasize acai bowls, smoothies, fresh juices, wraps, grain bowls, toasts, salads made with fruits and vegetables – “a lot of unique superfood groups,” he said.
Acai bowls are made from a thick blend of the anti-oxidant rich berries, which come from the Amazon. The bowls are topped with granola and a variety of super foods, he said.
“It’s good for you, it’s healthy, and it tastes really great,” Todia said.
He added since the concept is aligned with healthy alternative dining, the kitchens are “designed to avoid cross contact of common food allergens.” Also, don’t expect “ingredient fillers” like ice, frozen yogurt and artificial preservatives.
“We will not put Nutella on anything. … We tend to focus as close to the food as possible, the original intent of the food,” he said.
He added: “You’re getting the purest taste of the acai berry or the other fruits as possible.”