Quick and Healthy with Sol Bol in Visalia
Feb 28, 2020 11:00AM
By Rachel Trigueiro
Story by Rachel Trigueiro
Photos courtesy of Sol Bol
IF STRANDED on a deserted island, friends Julia Ellis and Kim Brandenburg agreed they’d take acai, family and a fire starter. “What else do you need?” they ask, true to their easy-going and fun personalities.
Friends for many years, Ellis originally from England and Brandenburg originally from Visalia, both spent time in Southern California and enjoyed the emerging acai trend. They noticed there wasn’t anything quite like it here in the Valley.
The two mothers with a shared interest in business dreamed of bringing this quick and healthy alternative to Visalia’s downtown with the sunny SoCal vibe. With hopes to inspire fresh, healthful eating in a vibrant and friendly environment, they opened the first-ever acai restaurant on Main Street.
“We wanted it to be bright and welcoming with good light,” Brandenburg says. “And we wanted people to leave happier than when they came in,” Ellis adds. But perhaps the most essential was offering the freshest, best ingredients.
Acai, the super food berry grown in the Amazon packed with nutrients and antioxidants, is enjoyed as a traditional Brazilian breakfast in a bowl. It’s typically served with granola and other fruits.
After diligent research and spending time at the corporate office of Sambazon, a top acai company in Brazil, Brandenburg ensured its mission aligned with their own. With ethically harvested acai, providing jobs to people in the Amazon and giving back to schools, Ellis and Brandenburg knew this was a company they could partner with.
“Their values really aligned with ours and they make the purest acai that comes in a concentrate sorbet form. No other restaurants in the area offer the type we do,” says Ellis.
Sol Bol, named as a nod to the sun and the abundance she produces, opened its doors a year and half ago with walls adorning oversized words like, “good things happen here,” setting the backdrop for this cool space.
Customer Maddy Budz, a Visalia native, says the place has a fun and modern vibe and the food is unique and fresh.
“We strive to use the freshest local ingredients with organic, vegan and gluten-free options when possible,” Ellis says. For a first timer, they both recommend an acai bowl.
“Our seasonal bowls are popular because they are custom made each season with the freshest local ingredients. The current seasonal bowl is the Winter Peak Bol. It has acai, gluten free and organic granola, seasonal kiwi, mandarin oranges and strawberries all topped with hemp hearts and coconut.”
Visalia resident Zann Starbuck prefers the sunset bowl and says it’s like having dessert for breakfast, but it’s healthy.
With two daughters for Ellis and a son and daughter for Brandenburg, they know the challenges and sacrifice it takes to be a mom and run a business. “We have similar values and we love to laugh. We work together toward a work-life balance. Each of us brings different strengths to the table and at the end of the day, we created an amazing business and team,” Ellis says.
Brandenburg encourages the mom who has a dream for her own business one day and says, “Go for it. It’s definitely a challenge trying to balance it all, but we have learned so much. It’s been such a great example to our kids of how to work hard, keep going and to really pursue what you love.”
The vibrant duo says they have enjoyed making new friends during this exciting year and a half in business and their aim is to continue to make a positive impact in the community. •
Sol Bol • 211 W. Main St. #B, Visalia • (559) 733-7902
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm;
Saturday, 9 am to 4:30 pm
Find them on Facebook and Instagram
Rachel Trigueiro, twin mom of four, loves adventuring with her family, especially near the beach. She holds a degree in business, but believes living in other countries and cultures offered her the greatest education. She dreamed of being a talk-show host; now, she enjoys story telling and drinking blonde coffee.