Butlers, forced by billionaires to mash piles of fruit by hand, invented blenders to prevent carpal tunnel and subsequent demotion to human towel rack. Reap the benefits of their creation with today's Groupon: for $6, you get $12 worth of açai smoothies and fruit bowls at Samba Rock Açai Café.
From its outpost on the path from the city to the beach, Samba Rock makes blended fruit drinks and unique treats from the South American açai berry. Patrons may spoon the distinctive blue fruit from a colorful mélange of strawberries and bananas or taste it blended with peanut butter in a standard-sized Airton Senna bowl ($7.31). Those opposed to the social necessity of food-chewing may experience the açai’s earthy, blueberry-like flavor as part of a Happy Day smoothie ($4.57) or the Tropicalissimo smoothie ($4.99). Every other Sunday, patrons may don white and practice the dancing martial art of capoeira to the accompaniment of live berimbau percussion instruments or simply sit back and let the sweet sounds treat ear buds. Bikes may also be parked securely inside the premises to dissuade passing Victorian dandies from stealing your wheels.
Samba Rock Acai Café
When owners Vanessa and Ron Wilkerson were opening Samba Rock Acai Café, they encountered many roadblocks along the way. For instance, the city assessed there would be a $30,000 traffic-impact fee for their restaurant. So the duo improvised. They built an indoor bike parking area, reducing the fee while still providing customers a place to park their wheels. This is just one example in which Ron has defied what some might see as a career-ending set-back. In 1988, the former professional BMX Freestyle rider fell into a coma after failing to land a no-hander, no-footer trick on his bike. Though some might have given up after a life-threatening experience like that—he suffered short-term memory loss and even forgot some of the BMX tricks that he had pioneered—Ron got back on his bike. And if he hadn’t, he would never have traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, met Vanessa, married her, or opened Samba Rock Acai Café.
The menu at Samba Rock Acai Café pays homage to the country where the Wilkersons met and where Vanessa grew up. Blended Brazilian berries and mix-ins, such as bananas and peanut butter, make up the base for their acai bowls. They crown this base with toppings such as fresh fruit, avocado, coconut cream, and granola. Their smoothies also feature acai, as well as organic ingredients, which have never been tainted by spray tanners to look more appealing to customers. To round out their South American-inspired menu, they serve yerba mate—steeped leaves of the mate plant—with acai to sweeten each sip.