In my recent visits to the Annex, I’ve noticed that a relatively new shop, Menchie’s, was seemingly filled with customers all the time. Upon learning that it was the newest frozen yogurt (fro yo) place in town, I wondered why it was so popular. Even during the winter months, when eating frozen milk wasn’t at the top of my dessert wish list, there were lineups inside the brightly decorated shop.
I decided to look up some background info on Menchie’s. It’s a fro yo chain that originated from California; currently it operates close to 80 locations in the States. It has just started breaking into the Canadian market, with the Annex location being the second Canadian shop to open. After doing some field research, i.e. a tasting at the fro yo specialty spot, I discovered several reasons why Menchie’s on Bloor has won over numerous customers since its grand opening in November 2010.
Yogurt Bar by Shihmei Barger
First, it’s a self-serve frozen yogurt shop. At first I was confused as to how self-service yogurt works, but while I was in the long lineup inside the store, I had plenty of opportunities to watch and imitate the eager fro yo lovers before me. You choose from 18 types of yogurt of different flavours, each stored inside a yogurt machine mounted on a big, colourful wall. To get the yogurt, you pull a lever to pump the yogurt into a paper cup, just like you would with a soft serve ice cream machine. After you get your yogurt, you head over to the toppings counter to customize your dessert, and then pay at the cashier.
Fro yo by Kyle Nishioka
The cashier is where you’ll find another special Menchie’s feature: you pay for your yogurt by weight, at 49¢ per ounce, not by flavour or amount of toppings like in other frozen dessert eateries. Therefore, you pay only for what you take. Now, the cup size at Menchie’s actually serves two adults, so if you’re eating a cup only by yourself, fill it just halfway for a decent portion and final price.
Every Topping Under the Sun
by Dale Chumbley
The biggest reasons why customers return to Menchie’s, though, are probably its creativity and variety. The fro yo shop offers 100 flavours overall, but just 18 of these flavours are available per day. Since the flavours rotate daily, you’ll need to visit Menchie’s many times in order to taste every available flavour. Also, you can mix two or more yogurt flavours in your cup, multiplying the tasty possibilities even further. Finally, don’t forget the toppings: an assortment of nuts, candies, seasonal fruits, and sweet sauces give practically endless ways to create your own fro yo masterpiece.
Cashdesk by Shihmei Barger
With its bright and colourful décor, including a Menchiewood wall that shows Hollywood celebrities enjoying self-serve fro yo in Los Angeles, Menchie’s is a fun, cute, and cool dessert spot for families and dates, though you will have to deal with constant crowds. Check it out before the lineup gets out of control during the summer!
511 Bloor St. W, two blocks east of Bloor St. W and Bathurst St.
Sunday to Thursday: 11am-11pm
Friday to Saturday: 11am-midnight
Menchie’s official website