Fast-casual chain offers acai-flavored bowls
Alex Kraus has dairy and gluten sensitivities so finding places to eat out was a challenge for her.
She said she was excited when her family discovered the Minnetonka-based Nautical Bowls fast-casual chain a few years ago.
“It was just so refreshing to go somewhere and I could get anything on the menu and not have to think about it,” she said. “I feel like the more and more I talk to people, there are more and more people who are having those sensitivities.”
Alex and her husband, Joe Kraus, have brought the Nautical Bowls concept of offering fresh acai bowls to Apple Valley by opening their own franchise.
The location at 15050 Cedar Ave., Suite 113, opened its doors Saturday, May 7, with a ribbon cutting. The restaurant is in the same strip mall as Super World Buffet and Red’s Savoy Pizza.
The business served about 300 bowls on opening day.
“People waited in line for over an hour to get a bowl, which I was really impressed with,” Alex said. “I wasn’t expecting people to sit around and wait that long.”
The couple contacted the company about opening a franchise about a year ago. This is their first restaurant venture. Alex is a hairstylist with her own salon in Rosemount and Joe is a project manager for a construction company. The couple live in Apple Valley with their sons, Everett, 6, and Crew, 4.
"We kind of always wanted to build something together, do a business together, but we just didn’t know what that was going to be,” Alex said. “Then once we kind of talked about Nautical Bowls enough, we were like, ‘I think this is it. This is what we want to do.’ ”
What initially drew the couple to the company was its core values, which include “others first and a healthy and active lifestyle,” Alex said.
“We are very active with our young kids and spend most of our free time being active and spending time outside. So that was very important to us,” she said. “Secondly others first; something unique about this brand is they actually give back. For every bowl purchased they donate a bowl to fight child hunger.”
Nautical Bowls menu includes different flavored acai bowls with ingredients that are organic, gluten-free, dairy-free and plant-based, according to the company’s website.
Customers start a bowl with a base and can choose from cacao, pitaya, mango, coconut, blue majik, acai and chia pudding. Those can be topped with hemp seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, chia seeds, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, coconut butter crumbles, almonds, granola, fruit and “drizzles” such as honey, cashew cacao butter, peanut butter and almond butter.
There are several “signature bowls” with names like the Nauti Bowl or Paddle Bowl. Alex said so far, the Surf Bowl and the Sunrise Bowl have been the most popular at the Apple Valley location.
The couple’s goal is have their business become more involved with supporting local schools. Alex is a 2004 graduate of Rosemount High School and her sons are students in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District 196.
“We’re both really passionate about just being a part of the community and especially with the schools nearby. Every single one of our employees is a ... high school student from other schools in the area,” she said.
For more information about Nautical Bowls, visit nauticalbowls.com.
Patty Dexter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.