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Jun 29, 2008 10:52 AM

Tart Frozen Yogurt Wars Have Begun in DC

The District has finally gotten a couple of "tart frozen yogurt" places a la Pinkberry. First there was Sweetgreens in Georgetown that opened last year. Tangysweet opened in Dupont on P St earlier this month, and this past weekend Mr. Yogato open on the other side of the Circle on P and 17th St.

For those of you have tried their fro yo,, let's compare and contrast and state our opinions about these frozen yogurt places: the product, service, atmosphere, etc. Sweetgreens also sells salads and Mr. Yogato is marketing itself as "fun" and "your local frozen yogurt place." What are your impressions?

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  1. I haven't been to TangySweet, but have tried Sweetgreen, Pinkberry, and Red Mango's yogurt. I was at Mr. Yogato on opening day and personally I liked the yogurt far more than any of the other fro-yos that I've tried. I heard a few comments about the flavors being undistinguishable, but I think that might just be personal preference. I appreciated the subtle mango flavor of one of the varieties because it let me taste mango as well as the classic tartness of this type of frozen yogurt.

    As with most new concepts, there were a few operational kinks, however I'm confident the operators will use the first week or two to identify and rectify those problems. I appreciated the owners/partners/helpers genuine enthusiasm.

    Domo Arigato, Mr. Yogato!

    1. I checked out Mr.Yogato on Saturday and I really liked it. Their toppings options are a lot more extensive (including mochi!) than either Tangysweet or Sweetgreen. They also offer an original "non-tart" flavor, which I think covers those people who don't like the yogurt tang. I'm not a huge fan of all the gimmicks (trivia questions, etc.) but I do think it's a little less intimidating than the overly-designed ultra-cool Tangysweet. But don't get me wrong, both are good. I would choose Mr. Yogato because the toppings and flavor options are much more extensive.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hamster

        Pretty much my thoughts exactly, hamster. I've had Tangysweet a few times and enjoyed it, but ultimately liked the Mr. Yogato one better after trying it yesterday. I loved that Mr. Yogato had mochi as a topping, and Fruity Pebbles, both of which I got on mine. I know Tangysweet lists Fruity Pebbles as a topping, but they never seem to have them when I've been there (I've seen Trix and another fruity cereal there- not the same!). Since I metro out to Dupont for this, I gotta say Tangysweet's a little more convenient, but I'd make the trek to Mr. Yogato again in a heartbeat.

        1. re: gyozagirl

          Forgive the long post. I just did a comparison between TangySweet and Mr. Yogato. I ordered a small classic with mango, blackberries and blueberries (this is a "little original tangy" at Mr. Yogato). Both were $4.50, consumed within 30 minutes of each other. The results:

          TangySweet, as an establishment, is much cleaner and more efficient. The floor was clean, the toppings were in order, "spa" water was free and the line moved efficiently. The fro yo, itself, was creamy for fro yo and the mango was ripe. I did have a few mashed blueberries which I asked the girl behind the counter to please not put into my cup (she ignored my request). I deposited them in the trashcan which had a little foot pedal so I did not have to dirty my hands moving aside a cumbersome lid (cf. Mr. Yogato below). The guy who took my order behind the counter was a little sarcastic (a good thing; but see Steve below). I sampled the pomegranate on a previous visit and found it too tangy for my taste (sour is the word I would use). I am not from California but I give it an 8.5 for taste.

          I had been excited about Mr. Yogato because of the name, I won't lie. When I walked through the door, I nearly walked out. The floor was disgusting. I felt like my sneakers, which had just been trekking around Dupont, were going to get dirty in there! I mentioned this to Steve, who apologized, told me my sneakers were very white -- and agreed that the floor was disgusting. I mentioned that I was on a taste comparison mission and Steve asked me to be brutally honest.

          I sampled the peach, the soft original and the tangy original. The peach has a slightly chemical flavor that reminds me of Peach Schnapps. I was told that they use peach puree and no artificial flavoring -- but not fresh peaches (which would make a big difference). My comparison dish was tasty -- the berries were good (not a single squished blueberry) though the mango was not as good as the stuff at TangySweet (could be an off night). The consistency of Mr. Yogato original tangy is more icey than the stuff at TS. Based on taste, I give Mr. Yogato a 7.5.

          On the other hand, the staff at Mr. Yogato is very friendly and very sincere (not sarcastic, almost to a fault). I think they just need to work out some kinks (evidenced by the white board that asks for customer feedback). Personally, I am not into the stamp on my head or some of the other games but the 2 girls in front of me happily got stamped.

          The experience at Mr. Yogato ended with the trashcan. What is up with that rocket trashcan? Clever enough decoration but totally disgusting to actually use. The place looks like it was put together by college kids who are more interested in quirk than function (chairs were disorganized; line was kind of a mess as it bunches near the counter with ordering and receiving being on top of one another; also toppings were a mess).

          As I walked home, I passed by TangySweet. It was closed. The employees were inside, busily mopping the floor.

      2. So where are all those shops on the Virginia side of the river? We want frozen yogurt too! I've tried the Korean cafes in Annandale and have been underwhelmed. There's gotta be something better than TCBY over here, and even those are pretty scarce.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MikeR

          I just had my first ever tart yogurt last night at Shilla's bakery in Annandale. I must say I could easily become addicted. I had a small w/blueberries which were a nice complement to the fro-yo. The basic small cup is about three bucks before toppings. Someone was getting a strawberry bing soo that contained a major swirl of fro-yo and was a work of food art to behold. I may need to try that eventually but a simple cup w/out any toppings is going to be added to my frozen confection standard summer fare. I'm adding Shilla's to my frozen confection rotation list which include Dairy Godmother's, Frozen Dairy Bar, Nielsen's Custard, Woody's, Rita's Italian Ice, and even DQ when the mood strikes.

          1. re: MikeR

            Besides the Korean Bakeries like Shilla (Annandale & Centreville), Le Matin De Paris (Annandale), and Dolce (Annandale), the other places in Virginia are Ice Berry (South Riding & Reston) and Piccomolo (Fair Oaks Mall). Piccomolo mostly has (amazing) gelatos, so they only have the plain yogurt flavor, which is what I prefer anyway. I've really liked all the places named above except Le Matin De Paris, which had watery, yellowish-colored, non-tart yucky stuff. Anyone know of any others in Virginia? How about Maryland? The only one I know is Shilla Bakery at Twinbrook.

          2. Having tried Tangysweet, I'll be very interested to try Mr. Yogato and hopefully enjoy a better experience. Tangysweet falls far short of the mark, IMO, especially since their mark is Pinkberry, who they clearly are trying to copy. At least Mr. Yogato isn't blatantly going down that road, although, in the end, it's all inspired by what's flourishing out west.

            If/when Pinkberry hits the DC area, it'll be a tough row to hoe for the local upstarts.

            7 Replies
            1. re: AndrewF

              I live in NOVA and work in Reston I have been to the ice berry in the new part of the towncenter off of market street near Il Fornaio, and I have to say that the yogurt is quite good combined with their fresh toppings, berries, nuts, mochi, etc.
              nice stuff.
              But a little pricey, but what is not these days?

              1. re: keithlb1

                I agree, Iceberry is delicious. I did a marketing project on them a few months ago and the owners told me they were planning to expand into Georgetown this summer - not sure what happened to that. But a friend of mine claims Iceberry froyo is available in the River Place convenience store in Rosslyn.

                1. re: elaineathon

                  Ok, exactly where is the River Place convenience store? Because if it's as close to my office as I think it might be, I'd like to head over there asap.

                  1. re: caphill2320

                    Apparently it's in the market between all the River Place buildings, on the 1100 block of Arlington Blvd. If you go, let me know what you think! I have yet to check it out myself.

                    1. re: elaineathon

                      Ok, I tried going to this place the other day after work. They definitely have signs saying that they have Iceberry yogurt and they seemed to have a machine for it. However, when I was asking around for it, the people all looked kind of confused. Also, there were no toppings set out, so I have no idea if they even had any or if they did, how fresh they would be. I actually left and picked up Sweetgreen on my way home instead. Oh well...

                      1. re: caphill2320

                        That's bizarre. I was wondering if it was actually a store or just pre-packed yogurt or something. Well, at least there are other options!

                        1. re: elaineathon

                          In my quest for frozen yogurt in Arlington, I remembered this thread about the River Place market possibly having Iceberry yogurt so I checked it out this weekend to see if they've got it yet. Like caphill2320's report, there was an Iceberry sign on the front door, and there was a machine and counter in the back. I asked a woman at the cash register up front, and she said they had to temporarily stop the machine and said they should have it next week....

            2. ...I'll be stopping by Mr. Yogato on my way back to work after an errand. I shall report back. I hope it's good!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jeserf

                I hear they have mochi! Anyone try it yet?

                1. re: Elyssa

                  original tangy + mochi balls + fruity pebbles + free rainbow sprinkles = I'd run to Dupont right now if I could

                  to answer your question, they have it, they're real, and they're FABULOUS.