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Top 5 frozen yogurt shops in the Twin Cities

Whether you design yours as a calorie bomb or a relatively healthy snack, froyo is the perfect summer treat
Whether you design yours as a calorie bomb or a relatively healthy snack, froyo is the perfect summer treat
Flickr / Rockinfree

It's finally that time of year to bid winter a quick adieu and welcome in summer with open arms. We can dig those sandals and swimsuits out of the depths of closets in a dreamy anticipation of long, hot, sunny days ahead. And what better way to bring in the new season than by indulging in a heaping cup of the adored summertime treat, frozen yogurt.

The light and healthier-than-ice-cream option isn't what it used to be. Self-serve yogurt shops are everywhere, and they cater to everyone. It's no longer just the elementary-school crowd loading gummy worms and marshmallows onto their hot-fudge-drizzled birthday-cake- and pumpkin-pie-flavored yogurt.

Here are five of our favorite local yogurt spots, guaranteed to please everyone (and their mothers).

These yogurt shops all work in more or less the same way. Customers pick their choice of yogurts from the 10 to 20 available flavors that day, fill their oversized cups as much or as little as desired, then shuffle to the toppings. Dozens of topping choices can make the frozen confection relatively healthy or a calorie-ridden comfort food. The completed parfait is weighed, with the customer pays between 45 and 50 cents per ounce.

Our five favorites:

Yogurt Lab

Top 5 frozen yogurt shops in the Twin Cities
Flickr / JPellgen

Easily the most "grown up" of the bunch, Yogurt Lab has a few toppings that would have kids saying, "What?" The cayenne pepper, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are likely to appeal to mature tastes. Staying true to science lab form, the shop's periodic table of flavors breaks down its yogurts into categories: edgy, elementary, nutty, desserty, fruity, energy, seasonal, international, and chocolaty. The website lists favorite "equations," like the Elvis (banana, peanut butter, and marshmallow) or the Omega Antioxidant Energy Snack (pomegranate energy and original tart yogurt sprinkled with flaxseed). But if you're craving sugar, the Yogurt Lab has you covered. There's plenty of cookie dough, brownie bits, jelly beans, and more to go around. Yogurt Lab costs 48 cents an ounce. Four locations, with four more coming soon Yogurt Lab website

Chilly Billy's

Top 5 frozen yogurt shops in the Twin Cities
Emily Utne

No franchise here. Chilly Billy's is family-owned and has a single location in densely populated Dinkytown. Coffee and free wi-fi gets students in, but they're not the only ones frequenting Chilly Billy's. It's simple, no-frills layout and buffet-style topping area makes it easy to pack on the goods, quickly turning what was supposed to be an afternoon snack into a full meal and then some. This shop is unique because it doesn't rotate flavors daily. Chilly Billy's serves the same 10 flavors every day. Cable Car Chocolate, Alpine Vanilla, and Very Strawberry are its most popular flavors. For a caffeine boost, coffee grounds and whole coffee beans are a popular topping, or grab a cappuccino with your froyo. Chilly Billy's charges 46 cents an ounce. 314 15th Ave. SE Minneapolis; 612.843.4278 Chilly Billy's website

 

Menchie's

Top 5 frozen yogurt shops in the Twin Cities
Menchies.com

Don't settle for the plain old cardboard dish while dining at Menchie's. Its $1 waffle bowl makes quite the gourmet sundae. Menchie's tops the charts with more than 100 rotating flavors and 70 toppings. This national chain is known for its creative yogurts like peppermint candy, zen green tea, cranberry hibiscus eurotart, pecan praline, and tropical lychee. Those who love extra frills will love Menchie's. From colorful spoons and a peppy vibe to flashy pencils, bracelets, and snowglobes, this yogurt shop is a guaranteed mood booster. Menchie's charges 47 cents an ounce. 750 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul; 651.797.6428 Menchie's website

Tutti Frutti

While it looks like an average froyo shop, Tutti Frutti's soy yogurt sets it apart. Made from U.S.-grown soybeans, the yogurt is gluten free, has no artificial sweeteners, and comes in about 50 flavors. This treat can be kept healthy by topping with fresh fruit, but if you need a sugar fix, Reeses pieces, sour gummy worms, and chocolate chips are just the beginning. Pile those onto your royal red velvet yogurt while getting a couple servings of soybeans at 45 cents an ounce. 7781 N. Main St., Maple Grove Tutti Frutti website

TruBerry

Located on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, this small and cozy shop makes for a great pit stop while exploring the area's shops. TruBerry's seasonal flavors give its competition a run for their money. The maple cinnamon donut yogurt is the best, and surprisingly tastes exactly like it sounds. Only 10 daily options and simple buffet-style toppings make TruBerry the least frilly froyo place. It also offers whipped cream (which isn't as common as you'd think at a froyo place), and its mini marshmallows are amazing -- they don't harden up when they hit the freezing-cold temperatures of the yogurt. TruBerry charges 48 cents an ounce. 949 Grand Ave., St Paul; 651.222.2740 TruBerry website


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