It’s no secret: We LOVE Acai. Through this passion, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with some amazing people, to supply their cafes, restaurants, and food trucks with this premium organic purple superfood. It’s so amazing to hear the stories behind these places serving Tambor Acai; why they started and how they’re using acai to influence their community by offering healthier options. This week we bring you the behind the scenes story of Island Blends Food Truck of Seattle Washington. Dreamt up by two long time friends, Alisher and Richie, these guys are proudly serving their community the best sourced ingredients they can. More about Island Blends Food Truck through our Q&A with Alisher below!
What is Island Blends all about?
The vision we had was to bring a healthy food truck option to Seattle. I lived on the Big Island of Hawaii for several years where Richie Mitchell (co-owner, business partner and my brother) and I met in 2004. Both avid watermen and really enjoy a healthy lifestyle. So healthy food options like fresh Hawaiian Poke was always a preferred food choice. When I moved back to Seattle, I started practicing Brazilian jiu Jitsu with Marcello Alonso (Godfather of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in PNW). With so many Brazillians and their love of acai, it was just a matter of time before I found a new favorite superfruit meal. Fast forward to 2016 when my family and I were in Kona and one morning I took my 3 year old son Ali to Richie’s friends acai restaurant and the idea for a healthy food truck was born. There are so many food trucks in Hawaii that offer great healthy and fresh food options like Poke, Acai, Kombucha, Coffee, Smoothies so to bring something similar to Seattle was a no brainer. So, our love for fitness and healthy food but also the fact that we wanted to have a kid friendly and healthy options, where parents would be comfortable and excited to eat with their kids, were main motives to start Island Blends Acai food truck in Seattle. It was tough to start our business from scratch especially not having any experience in the restaurant industry. I left a promising banking career and Richie had to make a commitment to go part-time and constantly travel between Seattle and Hawaii. We had to figure out how to source best and true ingredients, logistics of shipping, inventory, kitchen and etc. Island Blends Acai is a movement. Our mantra is Eat Healthy, Live Happy, Spread Aloha!!! In todays world there is so much garbage in our diet. So we wish to change that. And our goal is start with the little ones. I have two kids and both of them love acai. So if we introduce fresh, healthy and nutritious foods like organic acai, fresh fruit smoothies, kombucha when they are young and when they develop their food habits, we can start them on the right path early. My son Ali is 5 and eats everything off the truck; acai, poke and he drinks kombucha. So the “experiment” worked and now our goal is to spread our love of healthy food thru our community. We just want people to feel good and be healthy, because that’s the only way to spread Aloha, spread goodness, positivity and kindness!
What’s rad about Island Blends Acai is our customers, our fan base, our supporters and our truck “groupies” aka loyal, diehard customers who follow our truck almost every day. It’s so amazing to see Brazilians at our truck telling us that we have the best acai bowls they have ever had, Islanders or people from Hawaii tell us that our poke bowls are legit. We wanted to bring healthy, delicious and fresh food items to the streets of Seattle, but to have approval from the people whose native dishes we serve is beyond amazing. To be honest, that’s what keeps us going every day!
What is your first memory of trying acaí?
When I first tried acai, I did not know what to expect. But when I did it was an obsession from the first bite. It made me feel so good and healthy that I wanted more.
Which came first, your passion for BJJ or Açaí? And did one lead to the other?
My love for Jiu jitsu came first and thats how I got introduced to acai. There were always so many Brazilians at our bjj studio and they always said that it’s so hard to find good acai in the states. There are always those places that will imitate but only few that are real and delicious. So, I did not get a taste of the real, true acai until I was in Hawaii. And from there, the love of acai was real.
What is your favorite part about serving açaí?
We love the reaction from our customers about both our presentation and of course the taste. People always say that the bowls are too pretty to eat!!! We love how excited kids get about eating our acai bowls; they call them purple ice cream. Our favorite part about serving acai is not the reaction on people’s faces right there and then, but when they come back the next time and tell you that whatever they had last time was out of this world. It’s like when they process it and still can not understand what is was, but they really want to have it again. When they come back and bring their friends, co-workers, family to share their experience, that’s the best part.
We’ve heard Island Blends is referred to as the “Açaí Mafia”, what’s this all about?
People now call us Acai Mafia, and for us it’s a huge compliment. Usually, when you think of Mafia, you automatically think negative, mobs, gangsters, not realizing that the meaning of Mafia is a group of people in a particular field, having a controlling influence. In our case we want to be known for serving the best bcai bowls, period. We want to influence our community. That’s why we embrace our partnership with Tambor, and what they stand for. If we want to be the best we have to use the best quality ingredients out there, and that’s why we chose Tambor. At Tambor they are obsessed about quality of their acai and the fact that they source it responsibly is so important to us. We always tell people that we serve the best Acai that’s out there.
We have a mantra, “Keep your #lifeinrhythm”. What does this mean to you?
Everybody have some sort of rhythm in their life. For us that rhythm is meeting new people everyday and sharing our love for healthy food. When people come out to our truck and say that they were waiting for us to come out to their location, and that we are the only food truck they would “chase” to buy food. For us that means we are adding something powerful to their life rhythm.