Joanna and TJ Murphy, proprietors of the new SoBol on Route 58 in Riverhead. Photo: Alek Lewis

SoBol, the Long Island-based café franchise that serves fresh smoothies and acai bowls, celebrated the grand opening of a new store on Route 58 in Riverhead today.

Joanna and TJ Murphy of Bay Shore, the married couple who owns the store, said they are excited to open and be a part of the Riverhead community. This is the second SoBol franchise they own and the 62nd SoBol store to open across the country, they said.

The store sells a variety of fruit bowls like the acai bowl, which is made with frozen acai berries and other fruit layered between granola and topped with coconut and honey. Along with a number of snacks, they also serve fresh fruit smoothies, coffee, hot Belgian waffles and “Over Night Oats,” which is granola soaked in oat milk overnight with chia seeds. The granola used in SoBol is homemade using a special recipe created by the founder of the franchise.

“Everything is fresh,” Joanna said.

Menu items can be customized by adding a variety of “extras” including fruits, seeds, protein powders and butters.

“We always tell people, don’t treat this as a dessert. This is an actual meal.” Joanna said. “If you’re gonna go out and have a meal and then you’re gonna come in and do this as dessert, you’re not doing it right. It could be breakfast, it could be lunch, it could be dinner, it could be a little snack…”

Joanna said the store prides itself in being allergy sensitive. Most of the menu is dairy free, gluten free and vegan friendly, she said.

Riverhead’s SoBol will also be the first to have a pickup window for customer convenience. TJ thought of the idea amidst the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s something where a lot of people don’t want to come in, don’t want to have that in person connection. So we’re just really just trying to market to everyone,” Joanna said.

Customers can place their orders for pickup and delivery on the SoBol app or website, or through the third-party courier services GrubHub, DoorDash and UberEats.

The Murphys opened their first SoBol location in Manorville in 2018, then the 22nd store to open. They originally wanted to open their first store in Riverhead, but couldn’t find the right location until now, the couple said. 

SoBol is located at Warner’s Plaza, a small shopping strip located on the north side of Route 58 next to Panera Bread. To celebrate the grand opening, the store has $2 bowls today only from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Alek Lewis

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]