It’s 9 o’clock in Fayetteville’s Mill District, and if you listen closely you can almost hear the ocean.
Bright morning light beams across white brick walls papered with pages from surfing magazines, a casual collage of tropical waves. Four wooden rope swings hang outside on the patio. A mosaic of shells, sand dollars, and sea glass surround a mirror that reflects a woman pouring a cup of coconut coffee. A couple of sorority sisters huddle over bowls topped with strawberries, coconut, and granola, while a guy with a beard orders his usual Pipeline smoothie.
We love California.
It’s our happy place.
“We love California. It’s our happy place,” said KK Hudson, the founder of Mamaka Bowls. “There’s a simple joy on the beach, and we wanted to bring that to Fayetteville.”
Mamaka is the brainchild of KK and her parents. When KK was in high school, the family discovered smoothie bowls while on vacation in Laguna Beach, California. The bowls are part of the surf culture there. KK loved them so much that her mom, Carrie, created her own recipe, including her own home-roasted granola. When KK’s friends tried it, they were hooked, too. Soon, Carrie Hudson was preparing 50 bowls a day to meet demand.
When KK moved to Fayetteville to study at University of Arkansas, she brought her mom’s recipe with her. When a summer job fizzled at the last minute, KK fired up her blender and an Instagram account and introduced Mamaka Bowls to Fayetteville. The company opened their first shop at 495 Prairie Street in May. The whole family pitched in to help, including KK’s grandparents, who installed the tile.
“My mom is one of the most inspiring people I know,” KK said. “With her three kids grown, she could have chilled, but she was like, ‘Let’s do this thing!’ She’s so much of the creative force behind this business.”
Mamaka, named after Carrie and Doug Hudson’s three children, Macy, Mac, and KK, specializes in smoothie bowls. The original Mamaka Bowl includes acai, strawberries, bananas, mango, blueberries, and almond milk, topped with strawberries, blueberries, banana, honey, and Mamaka’s signature granola.
People love what we’ve created, it’s the most amazing feeling. We’ve been able to create a community here.
“Acai is a superfood full of antioxidants,” KK said. “Surfers eat it as recovery food. It’s healthy, but it doesn’t taste like it.”
After just a few months in business, Mamaka has become a popular neighborhood destination, and the Hudsons are already considering a second location where they can bring a bit of the beach to the Ozarks.
“This is a place where people can hang out and get away from everyday life. People love what we’ve created, and it’s the most amazing feeling,” she said. “We’ve been able to create a community here.”
This post originally appeared as an article in Connection Quarterly, a publication for neighbors in our communities featuring stories of people and places that inspire us, community events that bring us together, and snapshots from daily life.