They plan to open the acai bowl and smoothie chain’s first Florida location in Wellington this month.
WELLINGTON — Suzanne Madison is no stranger to unique dietary needs.
Her daughter Alyssa McCrodden, now 27, faced a number of health challenges growing up, including food allergies. Madison also worked in New York teaching children with autism, who often have dietary restrictions.
“It was very hard trying to find something healthy and nutritious,” Madison said.
So when Madison was introduced to the acai bowl and smoothie chain SoBol in Long Island, she knew she had found something special.
Madison, a Wellington resident for five years, this month opens the first SoBol in Florida in the Courtyard Shops at Wellington shopping plaza. The 1,200-square-foot space previously was home to Giuseppe’s Italian Ristorante, which still is open in the Town Square plaza at Forest Hill and South Shore boulevards.
“She’s the official pioneer of Florida,” SoBol marketing director Nick Pesko said of Madison.
She and McCrodden saw in SoBol an opportunity to bring a new fresh, healthy concept to the village they’ve embraced as their new home, they said.
“The community that we live in … everybody is looking for a healthy choice,” Madison said.
She runs the business with McCrodden and also has her two younger daughters, ages 10 and 11, involved. Her company is called 4 My Girls Inc., doing business as SoBol.
SoBol offers three basic bowls that can be customized, Pesko said. They have a one-of-a-kind recipe for their acai, he said.
“You can’t get it anywhere else,” Pesko said. “It’s sort of our secret sauce.”
Madison’s location will offer healthy grab-and-go options, she said. She also will offer a range of coffee, including nitro, cold brew and iced.
Her attentiveness to allergies extends beyond SoBol’s menu, which is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan- and vegetarian-friendly. For those with nut allergies, Madison’s restaurant has an entirely separate food preparation station.
“When you’ve got all these pressures on you to be aware of, it can be hard to enjoy food,” she said.
McCrodden works remotely from Connecticut, where she is planning the Wellington restaurant’s grand opening while preparing to begin her doctorate program in clinical psychology at the University of Hartford.
“Visits to Florida are a nice escape,” she said, laughing.
Finding a restaurant like SoBol after growing up with “really awful health problems” was a game-changer, McCrodden said.
“It’s fun, it’s bright, it’s attractive for kids,” she said of the chain’s food.
Madison said she “definitely, absolutely” plans to expand to other locations, and is considering sites farther south in Palm Beach County.
“I really just wanted to bring it to my community first,” she said.