Yogurt taps: Sweet Frog leaps into town
Sweet Frog, the new frozen yogurt place beside the Mudhouse on the Downtown Mall, officially opened today just in time for Fridays after Five.
Owners Giovanni Sestito and Robert Lupica were out pinning up the “now open” sign on the awning and fretting a bit about having to open on such a busy evening.
However, Dish had a chance to sample the goods yesterday and we don’t think the duo has much to worry about.
The blueberry, peanut butter, and mango yogurts we sampled tasted remarkably fresh, plus there’s an impressive array of toppings to choose from. It’s also self-serve. Grab a cup, belly up to one of the yogurt machines (which look like those soft-serve ice cream machines ) dispensing your chosen flavor, place your cup under the nozzle, and pull the tap down. Then go over to the toppings bar and add what you like. At checkout they’ll weight your cup and charge you 39 cents an ounce.
As Lupica emphasizes, all the yogurt is non-fat, rich in calcium, high in vitamin B12, and gluten free.
Ironically, there wouldn’t be a Sweet Frog if it weren’t for Joe Gieck, the Downtown property owner who demolished the historic fa§ade of the building, once home to the Victory Shoe Store, last November without Board of Architectural Review approval. The BAR reluctantly accepted a historical reinterpretation of the fa§ade from Gieck, but he could still face a hefty fine for the unauthorized demo, up to double the value of the property. According to deputy City attorney Richard Harris, no decision has been made yet on whether or not to fine him for the indiscretion.
“Opening as Sweet Frog was a consequence of all the delays,” says Sestito, who owns Vita Nova on the Mall as well, pointing out that he and Lupica had originally planned to open the place as Yofina more than a year ago. During the delays caused by the unauthorized demo, says Sestito, the original Sweet Frog on West Broad Street in Richmond, near the Short Pump Town Center, came up for sale. Lupica happened to live nearby and had always admired the business, so he bought it and decided to duplicate the concept here in Charlottesville.
Sestito says they plan to be open from 11am to 10pm seven days a week. There’s also a sweet promotion being advertised–look for it in the print edition of the Hook!