A little more than a month ago, I wrote about the froyo invasion of South Sound in this story. The trend is a little later than the rest of the country, but self-service frozen yogurt shops officially have kaboomed here. Last year, we had three frozen yogurt stores. This year? Nine (although another shop probably will open by the time you get to the end of this story). Three new ones opened in just the last few weeks - Yo! G's in Gig Harbor, Proctor Frozen Yogurt and a second Gibson's in Westgate. Read on for first-takes on the new stores.
Gibson's Frozen Yogurt Shoppe, WestgateWhere: 5916 N. 26th St., Tacoma (Westgage neighborhood)Hours: 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 6 a.m.-midnight Fridays, 8 a.m.-midnight SaturdaysInfo: 253-267-1319 or gibsonsyogurt.comMore here: My review in April of Gibson's in Stadium
The store: This is an outpost of the original Gibson's, in the Stadium neighborhood of Tacoma, which opened in February 2011. The Westgate Gibson's opened last week. The open layout is appreciated - toppings are accessible from both sides of a center island. The shop is also one of the more roomy in the South Sound with two seating areas and a counter. And the building? I commented in the newsroom on the soaring roof line and resident architect hound and News Tribune staffer Peter Callaghan explained that's a characteristic of Googie architecture from the 1950s-1960s. Think of it as "space age-y." If you want your kids to think you're even more ancient than you are, talk about Googie architecture until their eyes glaze over. This is a good trick to use when they ask for money.
The nitty gritty: Gibson's remains one of my favorite yogurt shops for one reason - they encourage free tasting. I had a difficult time approximating how coconut frozen yogurt would taste (sweet? tangy? coconuty? what?). A little white tester cup told me I'd like it and I didn't have to waste three bucks to find out. Yogurt at Gibson's is from YoCream, a national manufacturer that supplies yogurt for every local frozen yogurt shop. Gibson's Westgate has all the usual toppings and then some, including a sweet array of fresh fruit that gets the mom stamp of approval for variety and no sugary syrups. Here's something Gibson's in Stadium has that also is in Westgate - apple pie you can scoop up as a topping. The shop is self service. You help yourself to as much yogurt as you like and then add as many toppings as you want at a self-service bar.
Yogurt flavors: Twelve, priced
45 43 cents an ounce. Flavors on my visit: Dark chocolate, vanilla, cake batter, huckleberry, dulce de leche, coconut, strawberry lemonade, watermelon, tart, pineapple, peach mango and raspberry.
Yo! G's Frozen Yogurt Gig Harbor Where: 4784 Borgen Blvd. N.W., Gig HarborInfo: 253-858-9647or Facebook page here Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-SaturdaysAlso: Family members own a store in Poulsbo
The store: This store opened at the end of April and is just steps from Blue Cannon Pizza, another destination geared for kids and families. I thought the store was sparkling clean and what I really appreciated was the kid friendly vibe in the well-spaced seating area. A few cafe tables are out front on the sidewalk. I didn't see any cups for testing, but after I finished topping off my frozen yogurt, I saw a staffer walking around handing out cups. Next time, I'll ask for a sample cup before committing.
The nitty gritty: Toppin gs were all the usual suspects with a big mom stamp of approval for six fruit toppings, including blackberries and blueberries (fresh, not previously frozen. Trust me, that is important. Cherries were in a syrup, though). I also liked the selection of boba pearls - five or six on one of my visits. There were a total of about 20 toppings on my visit, light on the crushed candies and chocolates. The yogurt is from YoCream, of course. The shop is self-serve.
Yogurt flavors: Ten, priced 45 cents an ounce. Flavors on my visit: Mango tango, cake batter, chocolate, vanilla, dulce de leche, Thin Mint cookies, strawberry, original tart, raspberry and sweet coconut.
Proctor Frozen YogurtWhere: 2510 N. Proctor, TacomaInfo: 253-272-1565 or Facebook here
The store: Sonja Silver and Craig Fite have opened Proctor Frozen Yogurt where Jubilee Cupcakes used to be. Funny that a new trend is replacing an old trend at that location. They celebrated their soft opening this week. Silver is a third generation Tacoman and owner of the popular Sonja Clothes to Live In, which is relocating to the same shop as Proctor Frozen Yogurt (clothes in the back, yogurt in the front). There's a lovely deck out back for al fresco yogurting, with a few tables inside.
The nitty gritty: The serve-yourself yogurt shop is starting bare bones with about 18 toppings. While the toppings bar is light on fresh fruit now, Silver said she intends to add a lot of berry options soon. When berries are in season here, she'll also buy locally. Toppings were heavy on crushed candies on my visit.
Yogurt flavors: Eight, priced 45 cents an ounce. Flavors on my visit: Chocolate, vanilla, original tart, lemon, New York cheesecake, strawberry, dulce de leche and cake batter.
Read more: Find reviews of The Freeze in University Place, Elements in Puyallup, Menchies in Puyallup, Gibson's in Stadium, Black Bear in Lakewood here at this link. Now, if only we could get companion pie shops to open throughout the South Sound....
Our pledge to readers: Sue Kidd dines anonymously and The News Tribune pays for all meals.