Yogurt shops have traditionally offered a healthy alternative to ice cream, but a shop in Brooksville is also offering a different experience.
Customers at Joyous Yogurt, which opened four months ago in the Coastal Way shopping center, can serve themselves yogurt and 42 toppings.
Owner Stephen Sheng took a West Coast concept of self-serve yogurt shops further east and into Hernando and Pasco Counties. He opened the shop in the Coastal Way first, in December, then the Pasco store on U.S. Hwy. 19 in Port Richey. Both locations are beginning to pick up as residents learn about them.
Joyous Yogurt is a cute and colorful place to bring the family for an indulgent treat. The wall is lined with eight flavors of frozen soft serve yogurt, with traditional favorites like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, as well as special flavors like banana, strawberry cheesecake, cake batter and cookies and cream.
Manager Roy Guo said the atmosphere is what makes his job so appealing. It is difficult to be anything but cheerful around a selection of 42 topping choices and an abundant supply of frozen yogurt, with some specialty flavors introduced every week.
Guo is partial to the cake batter or vanilla flavors. Some days he piles on the toppings and others he adds only a few to savor the flavor of the yogurt. But the best part of his job, he said, is watching the families, especially those with children, spending valuable time together just laughing and making memories.
"I have a young daughter," said Guo whose daughter is 3. "She likes coming here."
Ann Woodard recently ran in to fill a cup with cookies and cream yogurt after spotting the sign as she drove by. A Bushnell resident, Woodard came to Brooksville to check on a house she has for sale and was doing a little shopping before heading back.
"My husband and I love yogurt," she said "so I thought I'd run in and see what this was about."
Her cup was eloquently simple, with only a slight assortment of toppings like cheesecake pieces and some fresh fruit added to the top.
"I don't like too many toppings," she said, almost apologetically. "I really like the taste of the yogurt."
As the warmer days of spring blend into balmy days of summer, Guo expects the shop will get more crowded. And Joyous Yogurt will mix their flavors and add more as customers make requests.
"If a customer comes in craving a flavor they've had before but don't see, I'll tell the owner we need to add it," Guo said. "It's all natural frozen yogurt."
They also offer sugar free and nondairy versions for those watching calories or customers with diabetes or certain intolerances. And they have nonfat and nondairy sorbet.
"We have premium, low fat and nonfat frozen yogurt," Guo said.
In addition to the frozen yogurt, self serve in a cup, Joyous Yogurt also makes smoothies in strawberry banana, mango tang, pina colada and other fun flavors.
Joyous Yogurt is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends until 11 p.m.
Email Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame at firstname.lastname@example.org