By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
Mamaka Bowls, a popular California-inspired acai bowl and smoothie shop from Arkansas, is opening a second location in this summer, and it just so happens to be in Waco.
Mamaka was founded by mom-daughter duo Carrie and KK Hudson, who opened their first storefront in Fayetteville, Ark. In May 2018. Originally from the Dallas area, KK Hudson said she is excited to bring Mamaka to Texas, particularly in a college town like Waco.
“When we realized that we could open a second store, we really wanted to be back in Texas since it’s where my family is from. We love Texas and it’s also where Mamaka first started,” Hudson said. “My dad and I went to Waco back in December of last year and fell in love. There’s so much personality there and it felt similar to how Fayetteville is for us. There are also so many small businesses and the people are amazing—everyone we’ve interacted with is so kind and helpful. We also love the college town world and are excited to be close to a campus.”
Mamaka Bowls sells both acai bowls and smoothies, and Hudson sees the shop’s unique granola recipe and thick base consistency as two factors that make their bowls stand out.
“We are super transparent with all of our ingredients—everything listed on the menu is all that goes into the bowls,” Hudson said. “For our bowls, we use completely frozen fruit and nothing has any added sugar and we don’t add yogurt. The bowls are also super thick—we make them as close to an ice cream consistency as possible so you don’t feel like you’re eating a smoothie. Our granola is also to die for—my mom came up with the recipe.”
Hudson said that the “Mamaka” and “Pipeline” bowls are two of the shop’s most popular menu items, using toppings and base ingredients like strawberries, mangoes, cacao nibs and peanut butter.
“The Mamaka uses our original blend, which is banana, strawberry, blueberry, mango, acai and almond milk in the base, and it comes topped with our homemade granola, strawberries, bananas and blueberries,” Hudson said. “The Pipeline is chocolate almond milk, banana, peanut butter, strawberry and acai, and is topped with granola, banana, strawberry and cacao nibs.”
Despite their storefront opening just one year ago, Mamaka Bowls truly began when Hudson was in high school. She spent summers with her family in Laguna Beach, Calif., and loved the acai bowls and beach culture.
“Starting my freshman year of high school, we spent every summer in Laguna Beach and around that area—I ate acai bowls almost every day I was there,” Hudson said. “We came back to Dallas at the end of summer and felt like there was nowhere that had acai bowls. During the start of my junior year of high school, I didn’t want to go a whole school year without an acai bowl so my mom spent time in our kitchen coming up with a granola recipe and an original base.”
Hudson said that her mom began delivering homemade bowls to her in high school and that her friends and other students began to notice the bowls and request them as well. From there, a small delivery business began during Hudson’s high school lunches, continuing for a year. Hudson restarted Mamaka again while attending the University of Arkansas by making and delivering the bowls from her house.
“I made a website and was going to have my friends start ordering online to come pick up at my house. Two weeks into the summer, I began having moms, daughters, high schoolers, middle-aged men and just a lot of people ordering online and showing up at my door to pick up a bowl,” Hudson said. “Towards the end of the summer my mom and I realized we need to do this legitimately and stop making bowls out of our houses. We began looking for spaces and fell upon our location in Fayetteville.”
KK Hudson said that the new Waco shop will have a similar design and feel as the store in Fayetteville to create consistency between the locations.
“We fell in love with the design of our first space and researched a ton on what we wanted it to look like,” Hudson said. “We want to keep the Waco shop consistent so it will probably look similar. We’ll have garage doors and swings in the front, and keep blue floors with a bar counter where you can watch people make everything.”
Laguna Beach, Calif., sophomore Ashley Shelton is excited for a place in Waco to serve bowls inspired by southern California with healthy ingredients and toppings.
“When I found out another acai bowl place was opening I got super excited—acai bowls are probably my favorite taste of home in California,” Shelton said. “I also love the fact that the idea for Mamaka Bowls originated around Laguna. There are so many delicious and trendy food places in southern California but Laguna is especially known for their acai bowls and small-town health kick.”
Shelton sees Mamaka’s emphasis on quality ingredients and unique toppings as factors that will make Mamaka stand out and be successful in a new second location.
“I’ll always love the original acai bowl, but nowadays many companies are getting creative with serving different bases,” Shelton said. “I’m also a big fan of toppings—I love strawberries, bananas, almond butter, cacao nibs, chia seeds and more. I hope Mamaka inspires the community of Waco to eat and live healthier.”
Hudson sees the people who work at and frequent the shop as the reason Mamaka has been and can continue to be successful, and is grateful for the growth Mamaka has experienced since their first storefront opened in May of 2018.
“Our people are who make us who we are—our employees and the people who come to our store make everything worthwhile for us. The people who work at the store in Fayetteville are like our family and they create the vibe of the store,” Hudson said. “Our lives have taken a complete 180 because of Mamaka—it’s been so crazy but so fun, and it’s still baffling for us to look back on our first trip to Laguna Beach and realize that that had started it all so long ago.”
Mamaka Bowls will be located at 215 S University Drive, on the opposite corner of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.