As Hutchison and her sister Alix Tillett ate acai bowls over that fateful weekend, they were amazed to learn how nutrient-dense the Brazilian superfood-laden bowls were – and incredibly delicious at the same time.
They also couldn’t believe that nothing like these superfood-laden bowls existed in their surf-friendly hometown of Wellfleet, Mass., on the outer end of Cape Cod. Tillett was in the midst of her journey healing from chronic lyme disease, and she was learning how food can shift the body’s ability to move, think and feel.
“They were just delicious,” Hutchison says. “And Alex says, “Oh my, I just want to bring these back home with me.’”
Tillett wasn’t just struck by temporary Kauai fever – she got to work soon after her return flight home, quickly creating BŌL, which serves up made-to-order “artfully balanced superfood bowls, nibbles and bevvys … to feed your belly and your soul.”
“She started with one blender in a tiny hole in the wall in Wellfleet, blending acai bowls,” Hutchison says.
Over the subsequent years, Tillett both refined and expanded her menu, and the audience followed her as she outgrew kitchen after kitchen. “There was a line out the door and down the block every day,” Hutchinson says.
Fast forward four years, and Hutchison, whose career has spanned an array of television production roles at advertising agencies and places like the Oxygen Network, has brought BŌL to Mill Valley, opening in the Lumber Yard earlier this month.
Hutchison had been involved with BŌL for a few years, soon after it became clear that those never-ending lines weren’t subsiding anytime soon. “I was able to help with efficiency, streamlining production and distribution,” she says.
“We are different than any other acai bowl shop in that we do not pre-mix any of our bases to our bowls or our smoothies,” says Hutchison, who moved to the Bay Area in 2010 to care for her cancer-stricken aunt, continuing to produce TV commercials remotely and later diving into acupuncture graduate school and becoming a massage therapist, eventually opening her own private practice in San Francisco. “And everything is unsweetened with nothing cut with any fruit juices or refined sugars or anything like that.”
As a result, the bowls take time to create, starting with a superfood like acai and “building a flavor profile around it in order to get the greatest benefit of that superfood.” she says.
Tillett and Hutchison come from a family of four generations of textile printers, watching their parents mix colors to create new ones for the fabrics their grandparents designed for the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The sisters see BŌL as a direct continuation of that lineage.
“A color bucket and a smoothie container – it’s the same thing,” Hutchinson says. “It’s this edible color.”
To that end, all of BŌL’s bowls are named after colors, from the beetroot-laden Rouge to the turmeric-containing Gold. Hutchison notes that BŌL has also added clarity to the often stressful job of a mom trying to make sure her two young children get the nutrients they need.
“This has been a way for me to take the ‘food be thy medicine way of thinking and using it to make sure my kids are getting the most nutrient-dense food but in a kid-friendly, extremely delicious way. It’s been such an amazing journey.”
The decision to make BŌL a bi-coastal operation wasn’t made until Hutchison visited the Lumber Yard.
“I walked into the Mill Valley Lumber Yard and immediately said to myself that if we were ever going to do this, this is where it would have to be,” she says. “It was just an instant connection with (MVLY owners) Matt and Jan (Mathews). They got what we wanted to do, they understood the ethos of it.”