Forget the aspartame tang of frozen yogurt still familiar from its '80s dieting fad. You could believe that was not yogurt. Instead, swap out the sweet fro-yo for the Korean-style tart stuff -- the dessert equivalent of Greek yogurt.
Five years after Pinkberry opened its first shop in Southern California, the tart-yogurt wars have come to Kansas City. In the blue corner stands Mochi Yo, the Leawood shop. And in the red corner is the recently opened Red Mango, near the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus.
Last year was supposed to be the year frozen yogurt came back to KC. Mochi Yo opened in the trendy One Nineteen Shopping Center. It had a modern interior, a local celebrity owner and the right blend of familiar and exotic toppings. Yummo -- chef Rob Dalzell's frozen-yogurt shop -- had been chugging along since October 2008 in the Power & Light District.
But Yummo shuttered after less than a year; the downtown crowd never embraced the variety of flavors -- up to 16 -- or the price point. And though Mochi Yo continues to operate successfully, it's hard to call a food a trend when there's only one option in town.
The introduction of Red Mango to the market (a second location is in the works for the Tiffany Springs Market Center at 890 Northwest Skyway) suggests that Kansas City could be ready for another go at tart yogurt. Arizona-based Yogurtini is also opening two locations in Kansas City (Zona Rosa and adjacent to the Plaza library branch at 4853 Main) this summer.
Perhaps we just needed a second bite at the frozen apple. Red Mango has already inspired Around the Block to sign up for a Red Mango Club Card. And next time I can't get in the door at Glace, the self-serve yogurt shop at 5050 Oak is looking like its worth the walk.