A fresh start at U Towers
From dollar store to Yogo Bliss
If you're looking for sweet, TCBY-style yogurt, you won't find it at Yogo Bliss Frozen Yogurt & Gelato Bar. "This is going to be a more of a tart yogurt, so it'll have more of a real yogurt taste," says Yogo Bliss co-owner Mack Kim. There's another big difference between Yogo Bliss yogurt and most yogurt shop yogurts. "It has live active cultures," Kim says, then ticks off the advantages of that: "It's good for your body. It'll help in digestion. It lowers your cholesterol. It's fat free. It's basically going to be a healthy dessert."
Kim and co-owner Joe Ahn hoped to open Yogo Bliss on South University in the old Dollar Store space by the end of April. They'll offer four flavors of frozen yogurt starting at $2.65: plain, strawberry, green tea, and mango. They'll also have nine flavors of gelato starting at $2.55, including Tahitian vanilla, tiramisu, and banana praline caramel. And you can dress up either with your choice of twenty-five different toppings that run the gamut from Captain Crunch cereal to fresh slices of mandarin orange. They also sell shakes and smoothies.
Kim, twenty-nine, and Ahn, thirty, have known each other since high school, and they'd been looking for a fun business to open together. Kim's wife, Carol, "really liked fro-zen yogurt, so she pushed me to do it," laughs Kim. Carol also suggested the unusual decor. The floor is grouted river rock, made up of hundreds of stones the size of small eggs. The deeply textured walls, with raised, lazy swirls reminiscent of a Zen sand garden, complement the floor. And they've installed a $12,000 digital menu board that rotates menu items every fifteen seconds against a soothing background of constantly moving shapes. "We just wanted to be something different," says Kim. It's not a big place, but they'll have enough seats for fifteen people to hang out at any one time.
They will also sell bubble tea, which puts them in direct
competition with Bubble Island across the street. That'll turn into a three-way fight when another bubble tea place opens down the block in a couple of months. But Kim's not worried about the competition. "That's why we didn't invest a lot of time and money in bubble tea," he says. "Once they open, we might take it off the menu. We'll see how it goes."
Yogo Bliss Frozen Yogurt & Gelato Bar, 1229 South University, 274-4161. Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m-2 a.m.
[Originally published in April, 2009.]