Olé Bolay: A Review of the New Build-Your-Own-Bowl Restaurant on the Gainesville Food Scene

BY MARIANNA COLON

From the tropics of South Florida, a new restaurant has made its way to Gainesville, Florida to introduce its healthy twist on  “fresh and bold” bowls . Bolay is a chain restaurant, located at 2905 SW 42nd St suite 70, that offers build-your-own bowls of nutritious food for customers to enjoy. Bolay has a mission of serving its customers fast, but healthy, food to promote a healthier lifestyle and diet. You start off with a base of Asian sweet potato noodles, cilantro noodles, kale salad, or baby spinach, amongst many other options. Next, you move onto veggies ranging from smoky cauliflower and mushrooms to green beans and Brussel sprouts. Then comes the protein, with your choice of lemon chicken, BBQ chicken, tofu, tuna, steak and shrimp. Lastly, you choose add-ons and sauces ranging from spicy Thai sauce to Asian herb mix.

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Bolay allows its customers to sample any portion of the food before committing to that item for their bowl. As a first-time customer, I found this extremely helpful in deciding what I wanted to order. After testing several options, I chose the cilantro noodle base with green beans, broccoli and shrimp on top. I then choose an add-on of spicy Thai sauce for my shrimp. The food was generously portioned for the price of $7.99. All of the food offered is gluten-free and Bolay’s menu includes extremely popular vegan options.  Each component of the bowl has its own individual flavor profile, yet all the ingredients complement each other well. The meat, veggies, and bases were all well-seasoned and savory. To wash this all down, Bolay has several refreshment options. Cold press juices come in a variety of flavors such as watermelon, pineapple, strawberry and apple, while sodas are fair-trade, all-natural, farm to fountain drinks such as classic root beer, draft cola, vanilla cream soda and pineapple cream soda. I personally chose the drafted cola and loved the sweet aftertaste it provided with every sip. Overall, Bolay was a great choice and offered a variety of healthy options for even the pickiest of eaters on the tightest of budgets.

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