Lately, I’ve enjoyed discovering downtown Fresno and its hidden gems. I wouldn’t consider myself a foodie, but I’m always into trying new places; and I’m loving the cozy yet chic ambience that many of the new restaurants, coffee shops, and ice cream joints are bringing to the valley. It’s pretty impressive to me when I walk into a place and it feels like I’ve been taken to another city. I’m sure you know exactly what I mean.
These photos were taken in the newest addition to Downtown Fresno called Rio Acai. Located in the midst of urban lofts and studio apartments, Rio Acai is part of the wave to not only save, but help reinvent downtown. With a successful location in Bakersfield and a thriving market for local businesses in Fresno, why not bring one here?
As a more health conscious person living with the painful regret for not having tried an authentic acai bowl in Hawaii when I had the chance, Rio was on my “try” list (they also sell Poke bowls if you’re into that). Now, I fell in love with the location and the interior didn’t disappoint. The place has just the right amount of space with four different seating areas with tables that are close, but not too close.
I think many new and local businesses are trying their best to bring strangers together by doing this. The concept is cool, don’t you think? I’m not going to say that social media is killing us by keeping our eyes glued to our phones; but we can all admit that at times we are intimidated or freaked out by face-to-face contact with strangers. Putting us in close quarters gives us that push we need to interact outside of the digital world.
Now, when we walked in, a friendly young woman greeted us with samples of organic juice. Five different flavors and yes, I was scandalous enough to try all of them! Their menu is pretty small, but don’t let that fool you. You know how some places have such an extensive menu that you have to stand there for 15 minutes before you figure out what to order? That won’t happen here. I don’t mind a smaller menu because that means the choices you have are going to be crafted with greater attention to quality and detail.
I got a pitaya bowl and my dad ordered a Brazilian bowl. We both got some Lana Coffee on the side which is also a locally owned coffee company. Our bowls were really good and the base had a thicker ice-cream like consistency. If you’ve ever tried the smoothie bowls from places like Jamba Juice, let me tell you, they don’t even compare. The toppings were fresh and the colors were vibrant. Their pricing is fair, too, ranging from five dollars for a small bowl and ten for a large. A medium was the perfect size and I don’t mind the price if I know I’m getting quality.
Pictured above is the wall they have everyone sign, probably until it’s full which I thought was a creative touch to the interior. It will hold a lot of memories and words of inspiration to the owners about how grateful the community is for their presence.
I’ll definitely be back to try some more of their bowls and juices in the future. If you’re looking for something to do and you’re in the area, you should check them out! Sign their wall, meet new people and don’t forget, there are plenty of other places out there just waiting to be discovered.