New-to-market restaurant to open two Louisville locations, including Shelbyville Road Plaza September 16, 2022 By Hagan Properties SEP 16 By Eleanor Tolbert – Reporter, Louisville Business First September 16, 2022 A new-to-market, health-conscious chain will be opening soon in two popular shopping centers. Playa Bowls, based in New Jersey, is a fast-casual restaurant that will be opening in the Shelbyville Road Plaza and Middletown Station. Sarah Cook Thiess and Brett Thiess are the local operators of the restaurants. In a recent interview, Sarah Cook Thiess said the company specializes in bowls containing superfoods like acai, pitaya, chia pudding and more. Customers can also choose between a variety of toppings like fruit, nuts, granola and nut butters. Playa Bowls serves smoothies and juices as well. “There are no artificial flavors. There are no syrups,” Thiess said. “There are no sugars being added to anything. We actually reduce the sugar level in many ways with all the fresh fruit.” Both shopping centers are owned by Hagan Properties. The first location to open will be in the Shelbyville Road Plaza. The restaurant is taking up the approximately 1,900-square-foot former Murphy’s Camera, it the target opening date is in the end of 2022. The second location is a new construction project in Middletown Station. The developeris building a two-tenant building in the shopping center, with Playa Bowls taking up one of the spaces. That’s anticipated to open in the spring of 2023. The general contractor on both projects is local firm Churchill McGee. Thiess declined to disclose the investment into the new restaurants. Thiess said she wanted to bring Playa Bowl to Louisville because it’s one of her favorites when she’s traveling. “I became familiar with them while traveling to places like West Hartford, Connecticut, and out to Scottsdale, Arizona, where they have locations,” Thiess said. “And every time I would go, I was like, ‘This is amazing’ … I would eat there at least once a day during my visit, which sounds crazy, but it is because there are so many options.” St. Matthews and Middletown seem like the right fit for Playa Bowl because of the other healthy food options in the area, Thiess said. Specifically with Shelbyville Road Plaza, she said Trader Joes, CycleBar, as well as other gyms and Whole Foods nearby, will complement the new business. This is a new venture for Thiess. Prior to this, she’s served in several positions at Humana for about 14 years. She said operating a franchise pulls in all the pieces of her passions and past experiences into one role. If she had to summarize her career, she said the first half was spent in project and portfolio management, and the last half were spent devising different strategies within health care. “I’ve always enjoyed marrying those two worlds,” Thiess said. “And that’s what this does, between overseeing a really huge project, and building relationships within the community, as well as within your own business team. But also having to create a strategy about what the right timing is for everything.” Playa Bowls was founded by Rob Giuliani and Abby Taylor in 2014. It now has over 150 locations.