Rollin’ n Bowlin’ Café in Damen Set to Close After Spring Break

Loyola’s Rollin’ n Bowlin’ location will close permanently Mar. 3 due to rising prices and stagnating sales

The açaí bowl and smoothie cafe Rollin’ n Bowlin’ will close its Loyola location Mar. 3 due to a simultaneous rise in costs and lack of a corresponding increase in sales.

Loyola’s Rollin’ n Bowlin’ cafe is located in the Damen Student Center near the south entrance and next to The Den event space. The cafe sells açaí bowls, smoothies, avocado toast and more made from all-natural ingredients, according to Loyola Dining

The independent company was co-founded in 2017 by two students at Texas Christian University — Sophia Karbowski and Austin Patry. It caters to universities while using locally sourced and natural ingredients. It has expanded to six locations including Loyola, Denver University, Sam Houston State University, Tulane University, Southern Methodist University and University of Notre Dame, according to the Rollin’ n Bowlin’ website.

Although Karbowski said Rollin’ n Bowlin’ survived the COVID-19 pandemic without any major side effects, subsequent increases in prices of goods and inadequate sales led to the decision to leave Loyola.

“Costs have just gone up for so many industries, but just food costs and things have just risen a lot, and we were totally hit by this,” Karbowski said to The Phoenix. “It’s just the repercussions of the rising costs and the supply chain issues and all of that.”

Austin Patry did not respond to requests for comment.

Senior psychology major Beatriz Martinez, the manager of the store, said she was informed of the closing one week into spring semester through an email from Karbowski.

“I was kind of upset that we even opened the store,” Martinez said. “Because we could’ve learned about the closing like during the break, during winter break stuff like that. And we could’ve just not opened this semester and we could’ve all found internship jobs or just for this semester jobs before they were taken by other students.”

Junior psychology and criminal justice major Kenzie Gallivan, a sales associate, is also having a difficult time finding a job for the remainder of the semester.

“It’s been pretty hard since it’s closing in the middle of the semester and everything around here is already done hiring,” Gallivan said. “I’ve been trying to get a job as a psychology major but since it’s like only a couple months before we leave again for summer break, I’m studying abroad so I’m going to be gone right after the semesters over, they won’t hire me.”

Karbowski said the Loyola Rollin’ n Bowlin’ storefront location left some room for improvement, but also admitted it’s hard to know the best location without being a student.

“It’s a little blocked off just because you kind of have to walk around to see it,” Karbowski said. “With music and stuff we like having our own little fun space over there. But, if we had been like on the other side of that wall where there’s more foot traffic, obviously there’s not a space there so that’s not possible, but foot traffic is huge.”

Loyola Spokesperson Matt McDermott gave an email statement to The Phoenix on behalf of Loyola and Aramark clarifying what’s next for the Damen storefront.

“We are exploring options with local eateries through Loyola Dining and look forward to bringing in a new concept soon,” McDermott wrote.

Despite the circumstances which led to Rollin’ n Bowlin’ leaving campus, Karbowski expressed affection for Loyola’s campus and students.

“We’re bummed, I mean we really love to be on Loyola’s campus, our team is awesome and we’re sad,” Karbowski said. “We hope as many people as possible come next week and buy us out of everything.”

Regardless of how the store is closing, Martinez and Gallivan said they enjoyed their time working at Rollin’ n Bowlin’.

“We’re all psych majors so we get along really nicely if there’s any issues we’re really flexible,” Martinez said. “I’m going to miss seeing everyone’s faces everyday, not just my coworkers but also the regular customers everyday. Because we have a little relationship now I guess, they come in and I already know what they’re going to order.”

Gallivan appreciates how relatively easy it is to make the menu items and also enjoyed working with friends.

“I love it, a lot of people are super nice and super friendly and I’ve made a lot of really close friends in my semester-and-a-half working here,” Gallivan said.

Anna Duncan, a freshman communications major, began visiting Rollin’ n Bowlin’ more frequently this semester and said she was unaware of the upcoming closure.

“I generally like [Rollin’ n Bowlin’], I think it is kind of expensive but, I mean, I mostly just use dining dollars for it anyway so it doesn’t bother me too much,” Duncan said. “Maybe another smoothie place would be good because I love getting smoothies.”

Karbowski said there won’t be any last week sales but there could be a discount sale Mar. 3 if there are too many bowls and ingredients left.
Another Chicago Rollin’ n Bowlin’ cafe opened on the University of Chicago campus in January 2020, according to The Chicago Maroon. This location was a smaller cafe that closed down in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Karbowski.

Featured image by Hunter Minne

Hunter Minné

Hunter Minné