Iowa City looks to add new acai bowl and smoothie chain

The store, Everbowl, will be located across from the UI Campus and Recreation Center.


Photo contributed by Justin Sloan.

Hannah Lipski, News Reporter

A new acai bowl and smoothie shop will soon be coming to Iowa City.

Located at 312 S. Madison St., Everbowl, a California-based quick-serve acai bowl and smoothie chain, has its eyes on Iowa City for opening its second location in the state.

The company’s philosophy is to “unevolve” and promote active lifestyles. According to Everbowl’s website, the food is “loaded with stuff straight from the earth that energizes the body and grounds the mind.”

To the company, to unevolve means consuming food that has been on the planet for a long period of time. The website states that the world has “over-evolved” with the kind of food being consumed.

There is an Everbowl location in Cedar Rapids. Justin Sloan, owner of the Cedar Rapids location and Iowa City shop, said he plans to open ten stores across the state. There are currently three locations planned to open in West Des Moines in the spring.

The new location is set to open next to the Kum & Go gas station and across from the University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Sloan, a native of Cedar Rapids, said he is bringing Everbowl downtown because the company is trying to get closer to college campuses.

The store Get Fresh Cafe, located on 109 Iowa Ave., also serves acai bowls and smoothies.

The company first opened at San Diego State University and has been franchised all over the country since the company’s founding in 2018.

“As weird and selfish as this sounds, when I first ate this food, I really wanted it near me,” Sloan said. “And that’s where the idea came forward to start a store in Cedar Rapids.”

Sloan said he met with a group of investors, and six locations in Iowa were funded in one night. Additionally, he is a franchiser for Everbowl in Texas, where there are currently four stores and 10 more in the works for this year.

He said the new location in Iowa City is still waiting on a permit from Iowa City to be granted before opening. Once they have the permit, Sloan said it is expected to take five to seven weeks before the shop opens. He said they anticipate opening officially in May 2023.

Wendy Ford, City of Iowa City economic development coordinator, said any type of food-based business must acquire a permit from the Johnson County Public Health Department.

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Sloan said Everbowl worked with universities in the past.

“Everbowl had success partnering with universities and colleges because they want and understand the importance of students eating healthy,” he said.

Additionally, Sloan said Everbowl is not just about clean eating, but also getting back to the basics of creating a healthy lifestyle. The location across from the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and near green spaces will promote customers to stop by after a workout, or go for a walk after, he said.

Olivia Vald, a UI first-year student majoring in journalism and mass communication, said she thinks the new store could help promote ways to partake in healthy eating on campus.

Alyssa Smith, a UI first-year student majoring in business analytics, said she thinks it will be good to have a new place to try.

“I think it would be great to have a place on campus where we can go that’s not University Housing and Dining,” she said.