When Jason Mazzarone of Sayville first tasted an açaí bowl five years ago in San Diego, he wasn’t thinking about introducing the healthy frozen snack to Long Islanders.
“I’m just thinking, this thing is awesome,” he laughed. I had never had one before. Kind of like everyone else. The first time somebody convinces you to try one, you try it and you’re just like, oh sh—t.”
He spent the rest of the semester attending culinary school, studying, surfing and eating açaí bowls.
Mazzarone made his way home and started making his own bowl recipe for relatives, who took right to them. Soon he was selling açaí bowls alongside Italian ices at the family’s mainstay business in West Sayville, Papa Mia’s Ice House. They were a hit there, too.
Long Island Super Bowls was born.
A year later, Mazzarone partnered with a family friend, Jim Kalomiris, and the two opened Long Island Super Bowls to its present location at 153 Main Street in Sayville.
That was two years ago. On Wednesday, the partners were celebrating the opening of a Patchogue location in a small shop at 22 West Main Street, behind Hoptron Brewtique off West Main Street.
Unlike Sayville’s shop, which offers an extensive lunch menu, Patchogue’s Long Island Super Bowls only whips up açaí bowls and smoothies. And that’s proven to be enough.
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The partners are now launching a franchise operation, with locations expected to open soon in Syosset, Huntington and elsewhere on Long Island.
Between just the two shops, Kalomiris says they’re selling about 1,000 açaí bowls a day.
By now you might be asking, What the heck is açaí? For one, it’s pronounced (ah sigh EEE) and it’s a purple berry that grows on palm trees in Central and South America.
Because it is not a fruit native to the U.S., it is commonly sold in frozen, freeze-dried or powder form.
An açaí “bowl” begins as a smoothie blended to the thickness of a sherbet. The frozen açaí berry is the key ingredient; it’s typically pureed with almond milk or coconut milk.
The true allure of the açaí bowl, however, is the toppings, which typically include a variety of fresh sliced fruit, shaved coconut, nut butter and granola.
Although Mazzarone starting serving açaí bowls before most anyone on Long Island knew anything about them, they’re now becoming widely available in delis and coffeeshops.
Long Island Super Bowls stands alone as the only place — at least to the partners’ knowledge — selling açaí bowls as its primary food product.
They believe the attention to detail in that respect, separates their bowls from the rest.
For one, they make their own granola and, in short, don’t cut any corners as far as using fresh, premium ingredients.
“And our process for getting people the product quickly,” Mazzarone said. “If you go out to California you’re waiting 40 minutes. Here, people began to trust that they could come to us before work or dropping the kids off and they’re going to get a certain level of consistency.
“Once you try one and you eat one, you kind of crave it. That’s the best way to describe it.”
Top photo: Jason Mazzarone (right) grabs the scissors from Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy Wednesday night outside Super Bowls in Patchogue. Jim Kalomiris (also in purple) was also on hand to help cut the ceremonial ribbon.