Bob Shallit

It’s all about acaí at new Roseville restaurant

Vitality bowls use a blend of acaí berries topped with granola, nuts, other fruits and vegetables.
Vitality bowls use a blend of acaí berries topped with granola, nuts, other fruits and vegetables. Vitality Bowls

There’s a world of difference between doing electrical work on nuclear submarines and dishing up heaping servings of “superfoods” made with acaí berries imported from Brazil.

But that’s the transition made by Roseville resident Dana Verducci, who later this month is opening the region’s first Vitality Bowls cafe, part of a fast-growing Bay Area-based chain.

The cafe, at 3988 Douglas Blvd. in Roseville, will have 14 varieties of acaí bowls – ranging from the vitamin-boosting Warrior Bowl to an almond milk and kale Detox Bowl – along with smoothies, panini sandwiches, salads and organic coffee.

The aim, according to Verducci, is to give people a health choice.

“I can’t tell you how many hamburger joints we have, but if you want to eat something healthy there’s really nothing here,” said Verducci, who is 52.

Meeting a need has been Verducci’s mantra since she lost her nuclear electrician job in Hawaii during military base cutbacks in the early 1990s.

What you put in your body makes a big difference in your mental and physical health.

Dana Verducci, Vitality Bowls franchise owner

She was on a softball team at the time and realized there were no indoor batting cages on the islands. So, in her first entrepreneurial turn, she opened Hawaii’s only two cages before moving to California a decade ago to take care of her health issues and find better schools for her kids.

As a classroom volunteer in Roseville, she saw the need for a pre-packaged back-to-school kit filled with pens, notebooks and other materials and ended up founding, a firm she still owns.

And, more recently, when driving her kids back and forth to sporting events, she realized there was a shortage of healthy food options. Her research led her to Vitality Bowls, which was started in the Bay Area in 2011 and now has 22 locations – most of them franchised sites – in five states.

She’s sold on the superfood concept – fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants that “people in other countries have used for their healing processes (since a time well before) Western civilization.”

In fact, Verducci figures she could use a little nutritional healing herself from the stress of preparing for the May 19 opening of her 1,200-square-foot store near Sierra College Boulevard.

“I’m running on fumes,” she said.

Eastward expansion

An infill development company currently involved in several downtown and midtown housing projects may be turning its attention next to East Sacramento.

TriCap Development last week acquired two buildings on adjoining lots at 48th and J streets – across from a Rite Aid pharmacy – and ultimately could put housing there, said company co-founder Ken King.

“It’s a wonderful site,” King said of the East Sac property, but said no firm plans will be made about future development there until leases with current tenants start to expire.

The company, founded by King and partner Matt Sanchez, has plenty of other projects on its plate.

It’s about to break ground in coming months on a 12-unit detached housing complex at 17th and Q streets, in a partnership with BlackPine Communities, builder of the 122-home Creamery project in Alkali Flat.

TriCorp also is close to starting work on two townhouses – both pre-sold – a block away at 18th and Q.

And, with BlackPine as its general contractor, TriCap is looking to build four tri-level homes at 14th and C streets.

Talks are underway to acquire other sites as well in the midtown area, said King, who described the firm’s focus as building “high-density Brownstone-style” homes in infill areas.

King, who previously worked as general counsel for Sacramento developer Paul Petrovich, said he and Sanchez have been accumulating land for housing for about a year and a half.

The latest J Street acquisition, two low-slung buildings totaling about 6,800 square feet, were purchased from a local investment company for $1.275 million, according to TriCap’s broker, John Mudgett of Turton Commercial Real Estate.