Cold war churns

FroyoWorld, Connecticut’s first self-serve frozen yogurt lounge, was established a year ago.
FroyoWorld, Connecticut’s first self-serve frozen yogurt lounge, was established a year ago. Photo by Sara Stalla.

When Froyo came, the rest followed.

It has been only a year since FroyoWorld became a New Haven — and Yale — staple, but the downtown area’s fragile dessert balance of power may be soon be upset by the arrival of two more dessert options, thanks to the opening of The Mochi Store in May and the anticipated arrival of Flavors, a frozen yogurt venue. Yet, despite the fact that the three will inevitably be competing for customers who want similar treats, the owners of the three businesses all said they hope to peacefully co-exist with their colleagues in the dessert industry and provide the most variety and best service to customers. Time will tell whether that balance can be maintained.

Flavors, a new establishment, breaks Froyo World’s monopoly on frozen yogurt.
Flavors, a new establishment, breaks Froyo World’s monopoly on frozen yogurt.

Flavors, which will be located where Labyrinth Bookstore once was, will offer frozen yogurt by the ounce with myriad toppings of candies, nuts, and fruits, much like FroyoWorld. The fruit Flavors uses will be direct from New York, meaning it will be seasonal, fresh and of high quality, said Rachel Kim, the daughter of the future owner, who spoke on her mother’s behalf.

With 10 different yogurt flavors and the likelihood of fresh fruit bowls and parfaits, Kim said Flavors is “going to be bigger than FroyoWorld.”

William Bok, owner of FroyoWorld, said that while competition is bound to happen when Flavors opens, he is not worried.

“We have a nice customer following … some even come two or three times per day,” Bok said.

The newcomer that has already arrived says it as at peace with the other dessert establishments. Mochi owner Harrison Robbines-Pesce said his businesss does not see itself as competition against either Froyo or Flavors store because it offers a completely different product.

The Mochi Store is set to be the first in the city to exclusively sell Bubbies Mochi Ice Cream — a hackysack-sized, steamed rice dough filled with ice cream.

“It’s a refined product, but its heart is ice cream,” Robbines-Pesce said.

Mochi offers 20 permanent flavors, plus two flavors of the month that change based on the season — watermelon is about to rotate out for peach in the fall, and pumpkin will be October’s main flavor.

“You can buy as many pieces as you’d like and mix and match. It’s really up to you what you want to do,” Robbines-Pesce said. Each piece costs $1.50, $1.35 per piece for a dozen, and $1.25 per piece for 100 or more. In comparison, Froyo’s yogurt costs 49 cents per ounce. Flavors has not decided on a price, but will also sell its yogurt by the ounce.

While Mochi has no seating, its bright yellow and green walls are designed to give a welcoming feeling to customers, said Robbines-Pesce.

Bok said Froyo’s lights, colors, and music are intended to create a warm and vibrant atmosphere as well.

Leah Rosofsky and Dana Greenfield, two students from the Educational Center for the Arts, said that they love FroyoWorld for its atmosphere and cute set-up.

Though they said that they would be willing to try Flavors when it arrives, they added that it really depends which flavors Flavors can bring to the table.

For some, geography prevents changes of allegiance. Emma Hills ’14, producer of the Dramat show Tiger at the Gates, said she will continue to eat at FroyoWorld because it is close to her rehearsal space.

But perhaps there is a chance that the vision of the three owners for an equilibrium can be achieved, at least between Mochi and at least one frozen yogurt bastion.

After Karmen Cheung ’13, a member of the Asian American Cultural Center, ate a few of the 1,000 mochi that group ordered for a recent event, she said she was satisfied with the dessert, as were the freshman who attended the event.

“Mochi … satisfies a completely different craving [than frozen yogurt],” said Cheung.

Froyo World was Connecticut’s first self-serve frozen yogurt lounge.

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