Two of the biggest trends to sweep the DC dining scene last year were cupcakes and high-end frozen yogurt. Thankfully for my waistline, only the yogurt trend has made it to my neighborhood so far. Yogi Berry, a frozen yogurt shop that’s high on style and light on calories, opened up in the Cleveland Park strip mall back in November, 2008. Over the past month, Wonk the Plank and I have visited our resident Yogi Berry three times to see if this frozen yogurt trend has any teeth, and we’re generally pleased with this tasty, if slightly overpriced addition to the neighborhood.
Yogi Berry is one many frozen yogurt shops that popped up after the enormous success of Pinkberry, the LA-based frozen yogurt store that became a trendy must-have after it opened in 2005. Unlike the frozen yogurt of my youth, this new wave of frozen yogurt is supposed to taste like real yogurt, with a tangy flavor that isn’t overly sweet. Pinkberry also serves its yogurt in well-designed spaces, featuring high-end touches like pebbled floors and Philippe Starck’s Victoria Ghost chairs.
The Ghost chairs – or a reasonable facsimile thereof – has made it to the Yogi Berry in Cleveland Park, but I found that not all the yogurt was as tangy as I expected. Still, tangy or not, almost all of it is pretty delicious.
Yogi Berry serves up four yogurt flavors: original, green tea, berry, and chocolate. The original yogurt, which was my favorite, does indeed have a tangy flavor that predominates, although it’s not quite as sharp as the tang of actual yogurt. The yogurt has a sweet finish, with berry and citrus undertones that round out the flavor. To me, this yogurt is closer to ice cream that in it is to Greek yogurt, with a light, creamy texture that reminds me of soft-serve. I found it delicious enough that I could enjoy it on its own – no topping necessary.
The green tea, my second favorite flavor, has a little tang, but is sweeter than the original and tastes mostly of, what else, green tea. But because the green tea is a “specialty” flavor, it also costs an extra dollar per serving. Yogurt prices at Yogi Berry start at $2.95 for five ounces (toppings are an additional $0.95 each), and I’m not sure if the green tea was worth $3.95 for a small.
The other two yogurt flavors, berry and chocolate, taste exactly like conventional frozen yogurt – if there was a tang, then I couldn’t taste it. Still, berry flavor ended up being Wonk the Plank’s favorite, and I thought it was very tasty as well. The berry yogurt tastes strongly of blueberries, with raspberry and vanilla undertones. The chocolate, which was my least favorite, tastes exactly like normal chocolate frozen yogurt. It was fine, but undistinguished.
All four of the yogurt flavors are low calorie – the original yogurt clocks in at approximately 122 calories for a small serving. If you want to up your yogurt’s caloric heft, the store serves an impressive variety of toppings, which run the gamut from the uber-healthy pomegranate seeds to the much more nutritionally dubious Captin Crunch. Wonk and I played it safe on our visits – I got raspberries and he got blueberries – and every time the fruit was fresh and flavorful. The store was much stingier with the raspberries than the blueberries, however. I only received six raspberries on my last visit, while Wonk’s yogurt was nicely covered in blueberries.
Wonk and I had an excellent time each time we visited Yogi Berry, although I do think that the prices are a little high for what it is. At the end of the day, paying four dollars for five ounces of frozen yogurt and some fruit is spendy. But, considering that I’ll happily pay that for a latte at Starbucks and not even blink, Yogi Berry’s pricing isn’t all that outrageous. I’m very pleased that the fro-yo trend has made it to my area, and Yogi Berry has already become one of my regular neighborhood haunts.
At least, that is, until a cupcake shop opens up in Cleveland Park.
Sam’s Park and Shop
3515 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20008