You know I don’t plug restaurants around here. I will, however, plug friends and illuminate the relentless and inspirational work they’re doing. We don’t have rules or guidelines. That’s the spirit of our blog. We’re perpetually fascinated by learning about people and their stories, told in their own words. Aric, you’ve got the floor.
Life-changing experiences don’t always make themselves known ahead of time or even immediately after we live them.
In 2006 I hopped a flight to Houston to meet my business partner and catch a connecting flight to Rio De Janeiro. He never showed up, but that didn’t stop me from an unforgettable week in paradise with great food, amazing beaches, and beautiful sun kissed Brazilian women in string bikinis. What could be better?
Sold on every street corner were these Acai (AH-SIGH-EE) bowls. The acai fruit is native to the Brazilian rainforest and is filled more antioxidants than our typical cranberries, blueberries and blackberries. They also pack in fiber, heart-healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. These bowls were as abundant as pizza in the Big Apple or gelato in Italy. I was obsessed; I must have had two per day. Who needs ice cream? This was delicious and healthier.
Unfortunately, my time in paradise came to its natural conclusion, and I returned back to my daily life and routine in the States, promptly forgetting about the spoonfuls of deliciousness I had consumed so voraciously.
I started up a technology company that consumed most of my time, but though successful, 7 years later I was ready for the next stage of my life. Though I was excited to see what the future held, I found myself jobless for the first time in a while and searching for my next passion play.
As if by design, the Acai bowls kept creeping back into my world. My girlfriend at the time kept mentioning them as her snack of choice when she went to the beach. I went to a Jiu Jitsu tournament in Irvine with my buddy Chris, and wouldn’t you know, Acai bowls were FLYING out the door.
The ol’ hamster wheel started turning…
How often do you have the opportunity to create a revolutionary brand? One that introduces people to unique foods that not only taste amazing, but will make them feel better as well? I saw the vision…I could work for myself and not have to answer to some self righteous prick every day. A dream come true for an entrepreneurial spirit like mine…
The idea didn’t spring up fully formed from that one trip to Brazil. I started with a trip up the coast of California with pops ensued, trying every Acai bowl along the way. Then, more research and more research. Superfood (especially acai) is a booming business…to the tune of $130B and growing. Yet in all my research, I could not find any fast casual restaurant brands focusing on superfoods as the centerpiece of their business.
DING DING DING. The Harvest Bar in Sherman Oaks (www.theharvestbar.com) is the baby that spawned from my experiences and hard work. We opened our first concept store in 2014, and have plans to expand in 2016.
If Menchies can serve frozen yogurt in 350 stores around the world, then I have no doubt that through hard work, determination, and passion we can make The Harvest Bar a universal brand making purposeful food easily available. As my friend Billy says “The bowls at Harvest Bar are too fucking good not to blow up…and it’s healthy.”
Contributing health and well being to a community while pursuing a personal dream is a powerfully fulfilling initiative. Mine is the Harvest Bar; a restaurant brand growing in popularity, devoted to making healthier food easy for everyone to access.
This dream didn’t happen immediately. By staying open, working hard and constantly pushing to be better, we will inevitably find the right time and space to allow those dreams to bear fruit.
— Aric Haut