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Fast-casual Bowlicious opens in Fort Lauderdale | Video

Lean proteins, low-sodium sauces and gluten-free grains crammed inside a bowl is the concept behind Bowlicious, a new build-your-own-bowl eatery in Fort Lauderdale.

The fast-casual restaurant, opening to the public at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 17, combines the meal-in-a-bowl and build-your-own dining trends but adds a healthy twist. That Spanish cilantro basmati rice on the menu? It’s low-sodium and low-sugar. That Peruvian chicken and Szechuan tofu? Both antibiotic- and hormone-free. Everything in the bowl is gluten-free.

The man who thought what was bowled could be beautiful (and healthy) is owner Matthew Freeman, a Hollywood resident who signed a five-year lease for the property in December. Freeman, who turns 28 this month, partnered with his father, Jon, to open the restaurant.

“I wouldn’t do this unless I thought it would be a hit. It’s a hot trend right now,” Freeman says of bowl-based dining. “This food is how I believe people should be eating every day. Not only is it delicious, but it’s nutrient-rich.”

To help build the bowls, Freeman tapped chef Gustavo Baldovino, who worked as a chef at Romano’s Macaroni Grill in Boca Raton and director of operations at Moe’s Southwest Grill.

To order, guests select from four categories, starting with “bases,” such as fresh mixed greens, citrus Champagne quinoa, spinach and strawberry salad, spicy sweet potato noodles or vegan brown rice. From there, pile into the bowl a choice of veggies, protein and sauces. Too much choice? There are premade “signature bowls,” such as the Athlete and the Botanist. Add-ons, such as sliced avocado and pineapple coleslaw, cost extra.

Bowlicious offers three bowl sizes — kids, regular and large — and the menu boasts kombucha, organic cold-pressed juices, craft sodas and cold-brew coffee.

Bowlicious is at 1823 E. Commercial Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Call 954-328-2695 or go to EatBowlicious.com.

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