Texas is still limping through the coronavirus and maybe that makes it a perfect time to debut a healthy concept. Welcome Purify Bowls, a bowls and smoothies shop newly opened in Dallas' Deep Ellum neighborhood, in a former Which Wich at 3101 Commerce St., at the corner of Hall Street.
Purify comes from three friends — Jean-Marc Gerbelot, Andrew O’Toole, and Dan Carrow — with a simple mission and motto: "Açaí bowls, smoothies, pressed juices. Pure ingredients. No bullshit."
The pretty purple acai has become a popular berry because it is high in antioxidants, which are believed to help fight disease. An acai bowl usually consists of a base of pureed acai, topped with fresh fruit, also a healthy thing.
Purify is not the first place in Dallas to do acai bowls but they're taking what they feel is a different approach, Gerbelot says.
"Ours is not a super sweet bowl," he says. "A lot of places do almost a dessert approach where you feel like you're eating ice cream. Our approach lets you taste the tartness of acai. Ours also have a firmer texture, and not as soupy as some other places."
They've opened with a limited menu which they'll expand to suit customer demand. Current options include an acai bowl with bananas, almond milk, strawberry, blueberry, honey and granola; the Yum'tella, with banana, nutella, peanut butter, and protein; and Beach Bae with mango, pineapple, banana, yogurt, and milk.
Their juices include the celery cleanse, consisting of pure celery juice, which they describe as "basically the opposite of a hangover."
Gerbelot says they're also providing shelf space for local businesses that produce like-minded foodstuffs, such as teas and protein bars.
The three owners, who are friends and neighbors, have transformed the former Which Wich into a clean and modern space with white subway tile, marble countertops, and geometric black tile with white starbursts on the floor.
"The space had been leased by a rolled ice cream place, but they went out of business before opening," he says. "We thought it would be a turnkey situation but we discovered nothing was up to code. We also have a property management company, and we ended up doing a lot of the work ourselves — lots of late nights."
They're also, perhaps, prototypical Purify customers.
"We're all health freaks, all involved in fitness and the yoga community," Gerbelot says. "We like smoothies and acai bowls, but our main complaint was that the ones we'd find had sugar or sorbet. We felt like there was an interest in the type of acai bowl you can get in Brazil where it's fresh and with not a lot of fillers."