Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nanaimo: Yorway Frozen Yogurt Bar

It's taken a while to get this review live (we're already 6 stamps into our frequent customer cards!), but since these guys were nice enough to let us take photos all over their establishment, we owe it to them to bump them up our queue a bit!

Yorway Frozen Yogurt Bar is located in Nanaimo North Town Centre (formerly known as Rutherford Mall) right across from the London Drugs, which is actually kind of a shame because NNTC has a bit of a reputation as being a pretty "dead" mall. Hopefully this place, with the addition of some key anchor stores, can breathe some life back into the place.

Yorway is a frozen yogurt bar that has preset flavours of frozen yogurt in soft-serve machines and a selection of toppings to be added, unlike somewhere like Yogen Fruz where fruit is chosen by the consumer and mixed directly into the yogurt as it is being dispensed. B has previously visited Pinkberry (at its first and only Canadian location in West Vancouver), which also employs the flavoured yogurt +toppings method, and it was pretty bomb. However, Yorway gets the upper hand for one reason and one reason alone:

Self serve.

Three different machines that dispense six flavours at a time, with the middle handle in each dispensing a twist of the two flavours in that particular machine.
Fresh fruit toppings and sauces

Dry toppings like nuts, coconut, candy, and cereal.
Unlike Pinkberry, where they have certain sizes that are priced in increments, and the employee will add toppings for you at cost, at Yorway, you pay by weight. I'm sure the Pinkberry employees were consistent in their distribution of yogurt by size, but something about being able to decide EXACTLY how much or how little yogurt and toppings we want just tickles us the right way. These guys are smart though: the cups they provide for putting your creation in are massive and B always ends up putting in more than intended...not that it goes to waste!

Since only six flavours can be available at one time, they are rotated. So far we have seen country vanilla, chocolate, new york cheesecake, original lemon tart (our favourite!), cookies n' cream, raspberry-pomegranate, peach-mango, and no-sugar-added strawberry-banana. We also saw green tea in their pre-packaged mini freezer, but not in the machines yet (maybe soon, please?). You dispense this into a cup or a cone (with the cone they provide a stand for weighing and subtract the weight of the stand from your total), and then add however many toppings you desire. As you are paying by weight, you are getting your money's worth, not wondering if maybe someone skimped on a standardized amount while you pay full price.

At our most recent trip, J decided to try out cookies n' cream (which had a weird grey colour, but an interesting chocolatey taste) with blueberries and oreo cookie pieces, while B had original lemon tart with a variety of fresh fruit (would have added shredded coconut to this too, but it was not available at the time). Both were pretty awesome.
For frequent buyers, there is a stamp card where, if you collect 10 stamps by buying creations worth $5+, you will get an eleventh yogurt free (up to $5 in value). We would keep coming here even without the card, but it's definitely a nice gesture!

When we asked the employee who was working there at the time we visited what they would want potential consumers to know about Yorway Frozen Yogurt Bar, they said that one of the most important things people should know is how healthy the yogurt is. All the flavours are reportedly nonfat, and they well exceed the minimum requirements for active probiotic cultures. And we don't think this is BS either, because B (who is lactose intolerant) experiences a significantly reduced reaction to the dairy in this yogurt than she does with ice cream, which can most likely be attributed to the bacterial cultures that aid in digestion. More information on these cultures is located on the company's website.

In conclusion, we feel that Yorway Frozen Yogurt Bar is a refreshing addition to Nanaimo North Town Centre, and if you can find a way to get yourself out there, you should try it at least once. Ha, as if you could resist going back for more...

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