Last night I ventured to Sweet Berry Yogurt, Wickenden’s newest addition and Providence’s latest player in the froyo game. The new shop is quite late to the national frozen yogurt movement, which arguably originated with the mass openings of franchises such as Red Mango, Pinkberry, and my personal middle school hangout, Tasti-D-Lite. However, in the movement’s most recent years, its new frozen yogurt hotspots tend to be self-serve joints with overwhelming toppings bars and per-ounce pricing that can really make dents in the wallets of those with little self-control or “little-kid-in-the-candy-store” mentalities. Although the froyo movement may be on its way out of style, and despite pressed juice’s (which is actually healthful) growing monopoly in the lucrative “health food” market, I still enjoy a cup of ersatz “yogurt” just as much (or maybe more than) the next person. I decided to drag two of my friends to Sweet Berry for an après dinner treat.
As I walked into the alarmingly-lit Sweet Berry, I passed a bouquet of wilted balloons tied to faux Knoll Risom chairs, which beat FroyoWorld’s benches with views of the bus tunnel. The interior was the same as that of its competitors—astonishingly clean and decorated with a cheesy and cheap mix of mid-century and contemporary décor.
Next, I asked for a tester, which any froyo veteran knows is available but not advertised (#lifehacker). I chose to test “low-fat” peanut butter, which to my surprise was creamy, decently flavorful, and relatively similar to the real deal. Then, I pulled the lever on “non-fat” cookies and cream, which I struggled to taste as its soupy consistency immediately melted into the depths of my tester cup. I surrendered and ended my short-lived sampling spree.
A bit defeated, I filled my pink cup with peanut butter froyo and skipped the toppings bar altogether. (In my opinion, toppings tend to overpower the taste of the yogurt.) Secondly, I refuse to be victimized by the self-serve industry’s pay-per-ounce business strategy. However, my friends decided to peruse the bar, which almost mirrors that of FroyoWorld. Toppings range from fresh fruit and chunks of various chocolate bars to bite-sized marshmallows and an assortment of sugary cereals. My friend immediately frowned at the sight of the raisin-filled granola. Apparently FroyoWorld’s granola is simple and crunchy, free from the chewiness of raisins. Nevertheless, the unique option of chopped-up Fig Newtons caught my eye; however, I think I prefer my childhood favorite in its whole form.
I then moved to the pay counter, which, be warned, does not accept credit cards on charges under $5.00. The $0.49 per-ounce pricing is reasonable and equivalent to that of FroyoWorld; both places beat New York City’s $0.55 per-ounce standard. My friends and I avoided the plethora of uncomfortable-looking yellow stools and sat down on the empty establishment’s couch.
The verdict: All in all, we enjoyed our froyo, but are the standard ten flavors and toppings bar worth the walk to Wickenden? Probably not, unless you’re in the neighborhood and have cash. Instead, I’d suggest sticking to Thayer Street’s frozen yogurt options. We’re big on convenience around here.