By Scott Etkin
Upper West Siders are in for a treat this weekend as two chains open their doors on Saturday, March 5, with plans to give away free food and merchandise to their first customers.
Blue Marble, the organic ice cream and vegan ice cream shop, is opening on Broadway between 70th and 71st at 10 am. The first 100 scoops will be free, which is a tradition dating back to when the first Blue Marble shop opened in 2007. Customers will also receive 50% off the first 50 coffees sold.
Playa Bowls, the chain selling açaí, pitaya, coconut bowls, smoothies, and juices, is opening on Broadway between 84th and 85th at 11 am. They will give away free bowls and T-shirts to their first 50 customers.
This Playa Bowls franchise is run by a father-daughter team, Raj and Misha Punwani, that already runs five Playa Bowls locations in NYC. They believe the UWS is a good fit for Playa Bowls because the food is certified kosher, making it a good option for the Jewish community here. Mr. Punwani is also a fan of Silver Moon Bakery on the corner of Broadway and 105th Street and took it as an encouraging sign when he “always saw a line there.” Ms. Punwani added that the proximity to Central Park will make it “a spot to cool off in the summer.”
Blue Marble already has a location on 97th Street and Broadway and Jennie Dundas, the co-founder and CEO, said that adding another store in the neighborhood came from the desire to “contribute to the positive nurturing of the Upper West Side after so many stores had to close.” She also said that logistically it’s easier to coordinate and run two stores that are near each other.
The new location will offer more coffee options than other Blue Marble shops, including beans from Partners Coffee roasters, according to Ms. Dundas, who is an Upper West Sider. Blue Marble also sells pastries from Colson Patisserie as well as a variety of handmade goods from small businesses and women-owned companies – companies that Ms. Dudas said she would like to support. Positive social impact is at the forefront of the Blue Marble brand. A certified B Corporation that uses organic and fair-trade ingredients, Blue Marble takes its name from the famous photo of Earth from space and has been a symbol of the environmental movement.