Chilly Billy's, Cafe Kem, and Fru-Lala add to frozen yogurt craze

Fro-yo fever in an ice cream town

When it comes to toppings, all the frozen yogurt shops tend to keep their fresh fruit bars in pristine condition, replenishing them often enough to avoid any off-putting discolor or decay. Café Kem, which is run by the family that owns Jasmine Deli and Jasmine 26, has the largest selection of Asian toppings, including the juicy-sweet, floral lychee; the more fibrous, mango-like jackfruit; and the more elusive palm seed, which has a slippery texture similar to the lychee but is slightly chewier with a milder flavor. Asian mochi, or rice flour gummies, are found at many fro-yo shops, but none of the other local shops offers Kem's grass jelly—dark cubes of sour, smoky gelatin that taste more like dirt than grass—or its more palatable almond-flavored counterpart.

Fru-Lala may have the most whimsical toppings: squirtable mallow cream, full-size cookies, and the peanut butter-and-chocolate-coated cereal snack "puppy chow." (In case you were wondering, the Lucky Charms marshmallows in Fru-Lala's display are ordered in bulk, so, no, the staff doesn't have to pick them out of the cereal.)

Chilly Billy's, too, caters to the student crowd by going heavy on the candy (Swedish fish, Sour Patch Kids, etc.) and also offers whole coffee beans and coffee grounds, presumably for those anticipating a late night of studying. Impressively, Chilly Billy's goes through about 50 fresh kiwi a day, which makes you wonder if fro-yo toppings are the main source of fruit for its beer-and-pizza-fueled populace.

Besides toppings, what's in frozen yogurt? Many shops won't say.
Emily Utne
Besides toppings, what's in frozen yogurt? Many shops won't say.
Emily Utne

Location Info


Cafe Kem

2524 Nicollet Ave. S., #101
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Category: Restaurant > Dessert

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Chilly Billy's Frozen Yogurt

314 15th Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Category: Restaurant > Frozen Yogurt

Region: University


375 N. Garden
Minneapolis, MN 55425

Category: Restaurant > Frozen Yogurt

Region: Bloomington


600 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403-1816

Category: Restaurant > Dessert

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)


Cafe Kem
2524 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.208.0254,

Chilly Billy's
314 15th Ave. SE, Minneapolis, 612.843.4278,

Mall of America, 60 E. Broadway, Bloomington, 952.303.6801 16532 W. 78th St., Eden Prairie, 952.934.4748
4105 Vinewood Ln. N., Plymouth, 952.303.6801

1315 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis, 612.353.4986,

Leann Chin
Various metro locations. Check website to find stores offering Red Cherry frozen yogurt.

Red Mango Frozen Yogurt
Burnsville Center, 1042 Burnsville Ct., Burnsville, 952.898.6522

4231 Winnetka Ave. N., New Hope, 763.537.9344
Rosedale Mall, 120 Rosedale Ctr., Roseville, 651.635.9868

Red Mango, the mall shop in Burnsville Center, has found the hottest, trendiest topping in its "popping boba." They are about the same size as the tapioca balls, or "boba," in Asian bubble tea, but they're actually juice-filled spheres with a thin, grape-like skin. They're quite slippery, and challenging to catch between your teeth, but awfully fun to pop and eat.

Freeziac in Eden Prairie (the company also has locations in Plymouth and the Mall of America) displays most of its toppings in cool, gravity-fed dispensers, so you can dump on chocolate-covered peanuts, malted milk balls, or crushed candy bars to your heart's content. An employee actually advised me that the way to get the most sugar for my buck was to load up on toppings, which are lighter than the fro-yo. Freeziac has placed the most emphasis on its shops' design; the Eden Prairie location has mid-century modern decor and contemporary artwork. It's three blocks from the largest high school in the state, and its coffee-shop-like ambiance—as well as the fact that it's one of the few places in the area for under 21-ers that stays open till midnight on summer weekends—has made it something of a teen hangout.

After visiting all the new fro-yo shops, I trekked out to one of the last remaining TCBYs, in the Rosedale mall, for old time's sake. TCBY doesn't sell its "plain tart" flavor at that location, or the other metro one in New Hope, because it wasn't popular enough. So I settled for a cup of golden vanilla, which was sweeter and creamier than all those I'd recently sampled, without a trace of sour. Had I not known its origins, I would have assumed it was soft serve.

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