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Photo courtesy of: Juice Generation

Need a new, healthy and refreshing superfood to boost your morning or slow afternoon? Look no further then the newest trending food, the Acai bowl! The acai berry is an exotic relative of the blueberry and cranberry that is praised for its array of health benefits and distinct taste. It grows wild on the banks of the Amazon and has long been a standard food in Brazil, that is now gradually taking over downtown Manhattan. One serving is packed with vitamins, amino acids, minerals, Omega acids and other amazing antioxidant ingredients as well as being 100 percent natural. The fruit is said to be one of the most nutritionally dense berries on the planet.

As for the acai bowl, the acai pulp is blended with various fruits and either coconut, soy or almond milk, then topped with a variety of fresh fruits.

Downtown Magazine has been able to narrow it down for you on where to get one, here’s the top four places around to get an Acai bowl!

Liquiteria in Chelsea: 102 8th Ave, NY

Liquiteria got started in the acai craze a few years ago with their top flavors being the Mean Green Acai and the Peanut Butter Acai. The peanut butter bowl is perfect for exercisers who are in need of a protein boost after a work-out. As for the Mean Green, it’s a bit more flavor focused for those looking for a refreshing snack.

“It’s a huge craze in Brazil, so when it got popular in the states three to four years ago, Liquiteria was on the forefront of that here in New York and added it to our menu,” said business development manager of Liquiteria, Avi.

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Liquiteria’s Acai Bowls – Photo courtesy of: Kelsey Maloney

Liquiteria also offers a delicious Pitaya (also known as Dragon Fruit) smoothie. Not only is it healthy, but its color is a vibrant magenta. However, the Pitaya smoothie is currently only offered at the Chelsea Liquiteria location.

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Liquiteria’s Pitaya Bowl – Photo courtesy of: Kelsey Maloney

Two hands: 164 Mott Street, NY

For Giles and Henry, the two owners of Two Hands Cafe, acai is something they bring to downtown all the way from their home country, Australia.

“Henry and I both worked and lived in this area [downtown] then being here more and more, we felt there wasn’t a place that was available to us where we could get really good coffee mixed with really good food, or what what we determined as quick, easy and healthy food,” said Giles.

The duo also wanted to cater to the fast pace New Yorker life style, so they created an environment that customers can stay for 5 minutes or for hours. The Acai bowl was one of the first products on the menu and is now booming with popularity downtown. Their one and only acai bowl is made with their acai mix, fresh frozen blueberries and bananas with cacao, acai powder and almond milk, topped with gluten-free granola, hemp and chia seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, blueberries and raspberries. Equal to the taste, the acai bowl presentation is just as important at Two Hands.

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Two Hands Acai Bowl – Photo courtesy of: Kelsey Maloney

“It looks fancy,” said Giles. “It’s whole and sweet and sort of looks like candy, but is super delicious. So when it arrives at your table, you’re going to have an overall better experience if it visually looks really nice.”

Dimes: 49 Canal Street

Acai was always a part of Dimes’ original concept when owner, Alissa Wagner started the cafe.  Wagner has been living in Chinatown for six years and noticed a lack of healthy places to eat and wanted to create a space where she would want to visit everyday.

Dimes offers two unique and tasty-flavored acai bowls and two pitaya bowls. Their biggest seller is their lavender flavor acai, which includes a mix of blueberry, banana, coconut, milk and cornflakes. However, their Carob Acai has been on the menu from the beginning and is a consistent staple of their menu. The Carob Acai ingredients include banana, dates, cinnamon, coconut, milk or almond and walnut hemp granola.

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Dimes’ Acai Bowl – Photo courtesy of: Dimes Cafe

One of Dimes’ acai bowls’ best features is their granola, which is completely home-made.

“I feel like when you go to a lot of acai places they sort of serve the standard run in the mill formulaic acai bowls,” said Wagner. “For us, there’s so many great grains, nuts, seeds and different fruits and all sort of fun things we do that no one else is doing.”

Juice Generation: West 4th St., Greenwich Ave., Prince St., 18th St. (Union Square) and 23rd St. (@ Park Ave.)

Eric Helms, founder of Juice Generation, got caught up in the Acai bowl mania while on a trip to Brazil and soon enough, learned from the native surfers how to score the perfect flavor. Keeping to the traditional Brazilian style of acai, Helms has introduced downtowners to the healthy treat in an exciting way.

“Our recipe is truly authentic and that’s what makes it so popular,” said Helms. “I didn’t want to disrupt or change a cultural treat that already had the perfect balance.”

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Juice Generation’s Acai Bowl – Photo courtesy of: Juice Generation

With several locations downtown, Juice Generation first introduced acai to their customers in 2000, then the acai bowl in 2004. Beginning with Brazilian natives as their primary consumers, pre and post workout crowds started to pour in for the power snack.

The store prides themselves on providing the healthiest options possible for their customers, including those embarking on healthier programs for the first time.

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Juice Generation’s Acai Bowl – Photo courtesy of: Juice Generation

“Acai bowls are somewhat of a gateway food for those looking to begin eating in a more conscious way,” said Helms. “The acai bowl is one step beyond a smoothie, it features frozen acaí pulp, granola, banana, and other fruits and veggies.”

Juice Generation’s most popular acai bowls include the Peanut Butter Acai bowl and the Aloha Acai bowl.

The acai bowl is the world’s best healthy breakfast or afternoon snack to date. Not only is its aesthetics and beautiful colors drawing consumers in every day, but it keeps the body healthy and is known for its ability to help fight off an unwanted cold. Don’t miss out on this refreshing, new and hip snack that everyones trying downtown!

-by Kelsey Maloney

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