Over the past few years, the acai craze has spread across the Richmond area. Pictures of bright-pink smoothie bowls with delicious fruit fill the feeds of Instagram, VSCO, and Facebook. In the area, the most popular places to purchase these treats are “The Pit and The Peel” and “Ginger Juice.”
The Pit and The Peel is spread across four different locations: the stores stretch from Short Pump to the James Center to Carytown and The Fan. They offer an extensive menu that includes breakfast sandwiches, quesadillas, grain bowls, and of course, the beloved acai bowls.
Their competitor, Ginger Juice, has three stores spread across GreenGate, Southside, and The Village Shopping Center. They offer a more limited menu with a specific focus on juices, toasts, and acai bowls. In addition, Ginger Juice, unlike The Pit and The Peel, offers health “shots” that address inflammation and nutrition, such as the ginger/lemon shot.
Quinn Phillips, a senior at Freeman, is always on the hunt for the new, healthy food trend. She was quick to jump on the acai bandwagon and try out both The Pit and The Peel and Ginger Juice. At The Pit and The Peel, she typically orders the Mango Bowl or the Beach Bowl. She says that “both are amazing on a hot summer day and they definitely have a tropical taste.” While she appreciates the more extensive menu at The Pit and The Peel, she explains that they “use a pre-frozen base for the acai bowl, so it doesn’t always taste as fresh.” Quinn finds the bowls at Ginger Juice to be “fresher tasting and more authentic!” Specifically, she recommends the Dragon Fruit Dream Bowl.
Senior student, Cici Clark, is also on team Ginger Juice. In fact, she works at the store. She enjoys being “surrounded by natural and healthy food.” Similar to Quinn, Cici likes to be informed about food trends as well as natural remedies. Working at Ginger Juice has given her the opportunity to expand her knowledge on these subjects. Aside from the acai bowls, Cici recommends the avocado toasts: “the Spicy Avocado and Basil Pesto are [her] favorite.”
Despite the various offerings of both places, I believe the black bean quesadilla at The Pit and The Peel is hard to beat. If you want more variety in the menu, head over to The Pit and The Peel. However, if you are looking for acai bowls and cold-pressed juices, Ginger Juice may be the place to go.