Gregory Bennati believes life should be sweet, which is why the former real-estate agent and Italian native recently opened Miami Beach's first and only specialty açaí shop, Berri Bar.
The idea for the fast-casual concept came from the movie The Founder. After learning about the entrepreneurial concept of fast-casual dining, Bennati had a dream about streamlining the way healthful food could be served.
Berri Bar uses a state-of-the-art machine that produces 100 percent pure açaí through a tap. Using an alternative form of blending, the machine crushes and stirs cold açaí berries to squeeze the most nutrition from them. Açaí bowls are then packaged in durable plastic containers.
Signature açaí designs cost $11.50, and health-conscious customers can build their own creations starting at $7.50.
The shop's crown jewel is the Golden Bowl, topped with homemade granola, passionfruit, and a host of superfoods such as sacha inchi, camu camu cherries, cherimoya, and Manuka honey. It’s then sprinkled with gold leaf flakes, which are said to have healing properties. The cost of such an opulent bowl — $101— isn't for the faint of heart, but Bennati says it adds something unique and luxurious (and oh-so-South Beach) to the traditional açaí landscape.
Even though its specialty is açaí bowls, the shop also offers homemade snacks such as granola bars, smoothies, juices, and fresh young Thai coconut water ($7). Berri Bar makes its own granola from an exclusive recipe.
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Juices and smoothies ($8.50 to $9.50) blend spinach, apple, ginger, coconut water, and honey or more decadent ingredients such as Nutella, banana, and almond milk.
Berri Bar encourages guests to hang out in its living-room-like atmosphere, complemented by a tree of life painted on the walls. The shop seats ten at tables and four at the bar.
Bennati says of his açaí bowl concept: “The philosophy essentially means that you don’t need to deprive yourself of the sweet flavors of life as long as you supplement your diet with healthy alternatives.” His outlook is centered on loving the life you have while enjoying the treats you crave.
Berri Bar. 1630 Pennsylvania Ave., Miami Beach; 786-717-7681; berribar.com. Monday through Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.