Cheap Eats - Yoreka frozen yogurt

Froyo takes hold in Little Five Points

Wednesday September 15, 2010 09:00 am EDT

FOOD GROUP: Self-serve frozen yogurt fill station.

NEIGHBORHOOD NOSH: Little Five Points has a tendency to eschew the mainstream, but the kitschy cool neighborhood has embraced the widespread healthy frozen yogurt trend spanning Atlanta. Neighborhood stalwart Sweet Lime lends a good chunk of its dining room to Yoreka's space, a decision made by the owner to diversify the restaurant's offerings. Since its opening in mid-July, the prime Euclid Avenue location now provides a touch of sweetness to this decidedly spicy 'hood.

FLAVOR FAVE: Self-serve sometimes produces performance anxiety: too much choice, too little direction. But the employee on duty explained the levers and the pricing system succinctly and stood close by to help. With 11 flavors to choose from, ranging from simple strawberry or blueberry to pomegranate or melon or coconut, you can mix and match to your heart's content. Skip the taro, which turned out bland. Instead, get a bowl of the original tart and load up on fruit and granola to make a parfait. Or try the pomegranate with mochi, little globs of Japanese rice cake. If you're xenophobic, try it with gummy bears.

SCALE FAIL: The pay-by-weight system is a mixed blessing at 39 cents per ounce. Self-restraint seems possible until you get heavy-handed at the topping bar, resulting in a more expensive snack than you expected. The best solution? Rather than piling chocolate chips on willy nilly, theme your yogurt, like making cookies and cream with lots of crushed Oreos. Yogurt is Yoreka's sole product, so you have to bring your own creativity to make a memorable bowlful.

GOT THE LOOK: The smell of Asian cooking from Sweet Lime threatens to confuse the senses. The décor attempts the modernity of other froyo spots but diverges with green and orange neon swirl lights on the ceiling, a mirrored wall, and music that sounds like a video game. Yoreka has the ambience of an arcade. But the patrons of the establishment are prosaic pedestrians who want some yogurt on the go or need a spot to cool down on a hot day. The health-conscious appreciate the nutrition value, as a fat-free serving packs only 97 calories. The trend-conscious appreciate it's trendiness. Everyone wins, except maybe the counterculture.

BOTTOM LINE: A revelation, Yoreka is not. But there's a reason trends hijack the mainstream. Everyone likes 'em.

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