For Josh and Samantha Giambalvo, the idea of bringing Frutta Bowls to Tuscaloosa sparked from a conversation with close friends.
“Frutta Bowls was the brainchild of a family friend, Brooke Gagliano. She is very into health and wellness and she was out on the West Coast where this type of business has been booming for a couple of years,” Samantha Giambalvo said. “She brought the idea back to New Jersey and it wasn't long before my husband and her family were talking about building something here. Honestly, it was all Josh, he has been such a driving force behind this because he feels so strongly that this business will have such a positive effect on the community.”
With a tentative opening this coming June, Tuscaloosa will be the first Frutta Bowls location outside of New Jersey. And despite Frutta Bowls being new to the area, the Giambalvos are no strangers to owning a local business and giving back to the community.
“Business is not at all a new thing to us. We have owned and operated Innovate Fitness since 2009, and we founded a non-profit called the Brayden House. Through these businesses, we have been able to build an amazing community around us that really allows us to do all kinds of things,” Josh Giambalvo said. “We currently foster, work with at-risk children, do motivational speaking and much more in the community ... none of which would be possible if God didn't put this community around us. He did so through our passions and businesses, “says Josh Giambalvo.
When it comes to the Frutta Bowls products themselves, there is plenty for T-town diners to look forward to. Acai, pitaya, and kale bowls are favorites, along with fresh fruit smoothies and other specialty items. The biggest bragging point for the Tuscaloosa Frutta Bowls location is the quality of the ingredients and the staff, according to Samantha Giambalvo.
“The quality of the product that we are going to serve is unparalleled. We are working with local vendors, but the açai is being directly imported from Brazil. And we are very proud of that,” she said.
As for the staff, Giambalvo said they’re starting to hire and train now, and they look forward to fostering a welcoming environment for everyone.
“When you walk in the door, you're not just another customer, you are important and welcome. I can't wait until we start knowing our regulars by name.”
Frutta Bowls Alabama is located at 2531 University Boulevard in downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information, visit facebook.com/FruttaBowlsAlabama.
Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino Foodie.” Follow her adventures at afilipinofoodie.com.