By Phil Corso
Things have gotten real for yogurt lovers on Bell Boulevard.
Yogurtland moved into the neighborhood as one of the newest tenants of the commercial strip and has since been boasting its authenticity: real yogurt from real milk with real fresh-cut fruits and real toppings choices. The shop replaced Pace’s Hair Design, which closed in October for financial reasons after more than 30 years in Bayside.
Store manager Mustafa Afif, from Fresh Meadows, said the new dessert specialty shop has been welcomed with open arms and mouths in Bayside since opening earlier this summer.
“People really like it here,” he said. “They have said our yogurt is healthier, lighter and they like that it’s real.”
The Bell Boulevard yogurt shop has been enjoying a soft opening for about a month and scheduled an official grand opening for July 27. It was the fourth Yogurtland to hit New York City, with two others in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.
The frozen yogurt haven offers a self-serve experience for its customers, who start at the back of the eatery and work their way up to the cash register while adding layer upon layer to their treat.
In the back of Yogurtland, customers can help themselves to more than a dozen flavors in any combination they choose before making their way up to the toppings section. Yogurt flavors include anything from the traditional vanilla tart to more obscure and unique flavors like cheesecake, pistachio, mango and more.
Each flavor comes straight from the source, the chain’s website said, with Madagascar vanilla beans straight from Madagascar, Belgian chocolate from Belgium and so on. What is more important, Afif said, was how healthy the yogurt was, fortified with Vitamins C and D.
After deciding on the flavor, customers then make their way to the fruit topping station with more than 15 kinds of seasonal fresh fruits sliced and distributed that day. Right next to the fruits sits the main event: more than 45 different toppings ranging anywhere from Fruity Pebbles cereal to Butterfingers, Reese’s Pieces and chocolate chips.
To top it off, cups of yogurt are placed on a scale and the price is determined based on how heavy it is. So the heavier the craving, the greater the cost.
But there is not as much guilt as what might come from more heavy ice cream eateries. Afif said the yogurt has between 20 to 30 calories per ounce depending on the flavor with nonfat and sugar-free options as well.
The Bayside Yogurtland, at 40-02 Bell Blvd., is open from Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to midnight. The shop also offers catering services and can be reached at 718-229-3840.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.