Berry good fast food

Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. That’s the message a new fast casual restaurant is bringing to the Madison market this fall.

Bowl of Heaven may sound like an ice cream or chocolate lover’s kind of place, but it’s seeking to satisfy a whole different kind of craving.

The café, which has its roots in California, is set to open its first location outside the western U.S. this September in the new outdoor portion of the Hilldale shopping center at 717 Hilldale Way. Owner Celia Garcia of Madison is confident Bowl of Heaven will hit a sweet spot with Madisonians.

“Madison is a dynamic and vibrant community that believes in healthy living through eating quality foods and being active,” Garcia says. “Madison is also a foodie town with so many great restaurant choices, but few quality healthy fast food options. We hope to fulfill this unmet need for healthy fast food that is easy and accessible to everyone. Moms and kids will love us and so will the average active person or endurance athlete looking to fuel their bodies. Bowl of Heaven will provide handcrafted superfoods-focused meals that are proven to promote good health, energy, and a body that feels good.”

Falling in love

A small business owner and marketing professional, Garcia is also studying to become a health coach. She’s passionate about exploring her own health, optimizing her energy (as a mom of three she needs it), and sharing her discoveries with others.

“It wasn’t until we moved to Madison seven years ago that we committed to a lifestyle change of being more healthful,” Garcia explains. “I truly believe this improved quality of life is due to the influence and support of other families in our Madison community. It’s through this lifestyle change and our new philosophy that we found Bowl of Heaven.”

Garcia says while she and her husband were visiting California to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary they discovered the acai bowls from Bowl of Heaven.

“We just finished a long morning run and were looking for a quick meal. After we ate our acai bowls we felt good — we were energized and nourished. That was it for us; we fell in love with them and went back for more several times on our trip. When we returned to Madison we couldn’t stop thinking about them and knew we had to figure out a way to bring these acai bowls to Madison.”

Garcia reached out to Bowl of Heaven in January 2014 and through many conversations and meetings with the franchisor determined Madison would be the perfect fit for a new Bowl of Heaven location.



A new kind of fast food

Garcia notes there aren’t currently many options for healthy fast foods in Madison. Fast food chains are trying to add more healthful options but are falling short on flavor, quality, or calorie count, she says. Bowl of Heaven will be the only local restaurant that focuses on superfoods from around the world, such as the acai berry, pitaya, cili fruit, goji berries, and more.

“The goal of Bowl of Heaven is to bring quick, healthful superfoods to Madison that are nourishing to the body and, of course, taste good,” she explains.

Bowl of Heaven’s menu will consist of handcrafted acai bowls, fresh pressed juices, smoothies, and other seasonal items including oatmeal, tea, and soups. All menu items are made without ice, added sugar, and dairy. The backbone of the menu is focused on superfoods that promote good cardiovascular health, anti-aging, and are a good source of vitamins and minerals and omega fatty acids. Bowl of Heaven’s bowls are made to order and each less than 500 calories.

“We intend to have Wisconsin-inspired menu items and ingredients,” says Garcia. “In addition to sourcing seasonal produce from local farmers, we will feature other great Wisconsin produce, such as the aronia berry. The superfood aronia berries are grown in Wisconsin and are found to be extremely high in antioxidants. They may help reduce blood pressure, inflammation, blood sugar, and even muscle recovery time after workouts. Of course, we will likely have a Door County cherry-inspired bowl, too.” 

A community partner

Garcia says Bowl of Heaven, which will employ 12–15 people once it opens, wants to become a community partner that helps promote and encourage a healthy lifestyle for all Madisonians.

“We will do that by sourcing organic seasonal ingredients from local farmers when possible. And, because the mission of Bowl of Heaven is to provide nourishing and quality foods that support a healthy lifestyle, we intend to have an active roll in the overall health and wellness of the community by sponsoring local athletic events, partnering with schools and participating in running and biking groups.”

Garcia’s not the only one who sees Bowl of Heaven as a good fit for Madison.

“We’re excited to provide another healthy eating option for Madisonians on the go,” comments Katherine Wetherbee, project manager for WS Development, the privately owned retail development firm that owns Hilldale. ”Bowl of Heaven is a perfect match with all the active lifestyle stores and businesses at Hilldale.”

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