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Around the Creek: Downtown Fro-Yo Wars Heat Up Some More

More news, useful tidbits and random tales of what's happening in and around Walnut Creek.

Just in time for spring and warmer weather comes yet another frozen yogurt shop in downtown Walnut Creek. Yogurtland is the new tenant in Centre Place on South California Boulevard, two doors down from The Habit Burger.

Like Coco Swirl, a couple blocks away near the Century 14 Downtown Walnut Creek movie theater, Yogurtland uses the self-serve concept. That is, cup in hand, you pump the yogurt from dispensers and add the toppings.  

Anaheim-based Yogurtland offers a variety of flavors, with such enticing names as peanut butter cup, Madagascar vanilla and chocolate coconut truffle. The shop, which also has a location in Pleasant Hill, says it uses premium quality ingredients in its yogurt and toppings, with a mission of bringing people together "for the most flavorful, natural and fun frozen yogurt experience while promoting a healthful lifestyle." 

Yogurtland hopes to give Coco Swirl, as well as  and  which each serve from behind the counter, a run for their money. 

Yogurt Park attracts the Broadway Plaza set. Yogurt Castle is easy to spot in its turreted brick building at the corner of North California Boulevard and Bonanza Street. 

Then there's Blush, which opened in early May in the strip mall next door to Whole Foods on Newell Avenue. Of all the yogurt shops in town, Blush may lay claim to the healthiest frozen yogurt. The chain emphasizes organic, all-natural ingredients and features just four yogurt flavors—two of which rotate—and three dozen toppings.  The "original" is a plain yogurt with a hint of tartness that tastes wonderful with dark chocolate chips. 

The downtown fro-yo wars did count a casualty. Just as Walnut Creek was reporting on the suburban frozen yogurt explosion, Red Mango in Plaza Escuela suddenly shut its doors. Red Mango opened with great fanfare and Blush-like claims on super healthy yogurt. The owner of the franchise was Yul Kwon, the affable winner of the 2006 season of TV's Survivor. Kwon grew up in Walnut Creek. 

Renovations are taking place inside the Yogurtland space facing South California Boulevard, but no word yet on when it will open.  Yogurtland's signature purple and green sign already hangs above the storefront. I've sent an e-mail to Hall Equities Group, which owns Centre Place, to ask when the shop will open. 

What's your favorite frozen yogurt shop? Can you have too many frozen yogurt shops? 

Ann February 28, 2011 at 11:18 PM
"And can you really have too many frozen yogurt shops? " I think we're going to find out.
Spencer February 28, 2011 at 11:53 PM
Will be interesting to see if Yogurtland will generate foot traffic. Being on the other side of Calif Blvd is like crossing Hwy 680. Not much draw to compliment them, and the theater traffic stays closer to the Locust/Olympic intersection. Let's wait and see, but I think the location is risk for this use.
Katie Fries March 01, 2011 at 03:21 AM
So funny--I noticed the new Yogurtland storefront as I was driving my son to baseball practice this afternoon and gave a silent cheer. Personally, I love that Walnut Creek is something of a frozen yogurt hotspot. When we lived in the Chicago area frozen yogurt shops were few and far between (most saw it as an 80s fad or something only "crazy Californians" ate) so I love having so many yogurt shops within two minutes of my house. My family's favorite is Yogurt Park--their yogurt has the best consistency and if we go in the evening after dinner it is easy to find a parking spot in the garage. Yogurt Castle is a close second--I love the novelty of getting my yogurt in a castle-shaped building--but they suffer from a lack of convenient parking. I will look forward to trying Yogurtland's offerings; I love the self-serve yogurt shop we frequent when we visit my family in Fresno.
Castle Hill Bill March 01, 2011 at 03:50 AM
Spencer- I'm curious what happens if it does create more foot traffic on that part of the sidewalk. I think it creates a dangerous safety hazard. Have you noticed how 'The Habit' has a big part of the sidewalk blocked by tables and chairs on California. I noticed a group of people walking off the sidewalk onto California to get around the people eating at those tables. How are they (The Habit) allowed to do this? Why wasn't this brand new building built so that the sidewalk would be wider? Merl Hall Inc. political influence or incompetent city planning? It appears to me that the city could be on the hook, along with The Habit for problems caused by this poorly planned al fresco eating area. Countdown for the ambulance chasers ... three, two , one.
Martha Ross March 01, 2011 at 05:51 AM
Castle Hill, There is also the issue about a bike lane--or no bike lane---there. The city made no provisions even though there was something in some planning document about how this section of California would be desirable for bike lanes. There was no such setback required for Plaza Escuela--or for Centre Place.
Jonathan Hawthorne March 01, 2011 at 06:08 AM
On a side note, The Habit has become so unbelievably popular! Have you ever seen that place on a Saturday afternoon! YIKES! I think YogurtLand will benefit from the increasing traffic that The Habit brings in!
Spencer March 02, 2011 at 12:34 AM
The sidewalk width meets code or the project would never be approved; Habit (although I think they are a great burger place) has reduced the width of the sidewalk by crowding their tables and chairs. I don't worry about the pedestrians, but would you want to be munching on a big burger when some car suddenly jumps the curb? And, how long until someone sues under ADA for wheelchair access? There's plenty of outside seating on the south side of the restaurant.
Elizabeth March 21, 2011 at 04:44 PM
I agree with Jonathan. I think it will do fantastic being by the very busy Habit restaurant. After you eat a more healthier sandwich of grilled Albacore, you can get a nice yogurt dessert, instead of ice cream! Anyone else find it odd that all the yogurt shops sport the same color themes in their signage ? Think about it, yogurt land, blush, coco swirl, all have pink and green in their signs. Perhaps it is a huge conspiracy and they are all owned by the same people!
John N April 14, 2011 at 11:25 PM
I have completely given up buying frozen yogurt. For a mini it cost $3.00 which is ridiculous. I can go to McDonalds or The Habit and get a soft serve sundae or cone for a dollar!!! When I am paying over $4 for a gallon of gas, I have to compromise on some expenses. Yogurt is a goner...

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