Jul 28, 2014
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Bites Nearby: Menchie's

Frozen yogurt franchise emphasizes the fun of “mix your own.”

Bites Nearby: Menchie's Bites Nearby: Menchie's

 

It’s brand new and nearby. It’s bright, colorful and full of smiles. It’s the Menchie’s frozen yogurt store at the Shops at Cedar Point. The first location of this franchise operation opened in 2007 in California. A mere five years later there are more than 200 Menchie’s locations -- in North America and internationally -- and about twice that many in development.

At Menchie’s, self-service is a crucial part of the experience. With 16 flavors of frozen yogurt and sorbet and more than 50 toppings, the whole point is for the customer to make his own mix and his own fun. First-time guests need a little guidance to figure out the system, but the perpetually pleasant staff is ready to assist.

It’s pretty simple. The customer takes either an empty serving cup or chooses a waffle bowl for $1. At the walk-up yogurt wall, there are well-labeled dispensers for each of the 16 flavors (which change daily). Guests may mix to their heart’s content, and these decisions are not taken lightly. (It’s unclear if the tiny paper cups for complimentary tastes help narrow it down or just make one want to try everything.)

In addition to a range of yogurt and sorbet flavors (pistachio, shredded coconut, cappuccino, cookies ‘n cream, honeydew sorbet, and chocolate peanut butter are just a few), many are identified as low-carb, non-fat, no sugar added, vegan, gluten-free or kosher.

The toppings bar features long rows of canisters filled with all manner of dry toppings to spoon on (candy bar pieces, granola, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, sprinkles, gummy worms…), a chilled buffet of fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, bananas, mango and more), plus even more decadent things like tiny cheesecake bites. Yes, don’t forget the pump-on sauces.

Pricing is straightforward. No matter what the combination of ingredients in the cup, the cost is 49 cents plus tax per ounce. A modest serving comes out to around $3. Piled-high concoctions can be closer to $5. Many guests enjoy their yogurt on site; lids are provided for take-out.

On a busy summer night, there may be a bit of jostling in the service area as children and adults cruise back and forth looking to create the perfect mix. But good nature abounds, because this is the land of smiles. To combat inevitable spills, a team member constantly tidies the counters and floor.

Menchie’s locations have indoor and outdoor seating. The airy, casual décor gets a happy, high-energy jolt from brand-specific fuchsia and apple-green wall treatments. Round chalkboards encourage kids to express themselves while they visit.

353 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., Allentown, PA 18103.  610-841-1900.  www.menchies.com

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