T-Willy’s freezes the competition in yogurt comparison

Photo: Lindsay Breslin

It was a difficult assignment, but Staff Writers Lindsay Breslin and Sam Barton bravely took on the task of sampling frozen yogurt throughout the Miami Valley.

By Sam Barton and Lindsay Breslin, Staff Writers

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The last half decade saw the popularity of yogurt stores skyrocket from near obscurity to the popularity seen today. One after another, these vendors of creamy, delicious frozen yogurt erupted into Kettering, Centerville, Beavercreek and Dayton. Now there are six distinct vendors: Awesome Yogurt, Bad Frog Yogurt, Tutti Frutti, T-Willy’s Yogurt Emporium, Yoba and Yogurt Mountain. Each has its own style and flavors, but they all share the specialty of frozen yogurt.

Two Flyer staff members, Sam Barton and Lindsay Breslin, visited all six to see which vendor would come out on top as the best frozen yogurt place in the Dayton area.

The Rules of the Game:

Each yogurt store was rated in four categories: service, atmosphere, yogurt and toppings. The same flavor, vanilla, was sampled in each store, keeping constancy in flavor results. Finally, the stores were ranked in order from worst to best and given a star rating out of 5. These ratings are a collaboration of opinions, based on the writers’ experiences at each vendor.

Here, from worst to best, are the findings.

#6. Tutti Frutti:  2 stars

When Sam and I entered Tutti Frutti, there was no one behind the counter. Then I noticed that two of the dispensers were broken, and the one employee was trying to fix them. The store was small and almost empty, with a few tables and chairs. In terms of yogurt, there weren’t that many flavors available, and there weren’t that many toppings. The yogurt was good, but sickly sweet, as though they had added way too much sugar. On the plus side, they had electronic screens that showed the different yogurt flavors, which was original, though one was out of order. The location was in the Dayton Mall, and it seemed thoroughly uninviting. The service was slow, with one employee who disappeared into the back. Overall, I didn’t really enjoy Tutti Frutti. — Lindsay Breslin

Service: **
Atmosphere: *
Yogurt: ***
Toppings: *

#5. Yogurt Mountain:  3 stars

Lindsay and I walked into Yogurt Mountain at The Greene’s Books and Co., and we noticed that the place was jam-packed. It was obviously popular, but the rowdy teenagers and screaming kids made the place seem hectic. The one employee was reading behind the counter, and he seemed less than enthused by arrival. The yogurt itself was very good; it was sweet and creamy with a distinct vanilla bean taste. The topping counter was full of toppings, but they were all unoriginal and unexciting. There was also a massive crowd, which made the journey to the topping bar somewhat of a challenge. The yogurt at Yogurt Mountain was its best asset; the atmosphere and service made the visit less than phenomenal. — Sam Barton

Service: *
Atmosphere: *
Yogurt: ****
Toppings: **

#4. Awesome Yogurt:  3.5 stars

Sam and I walked into Awesome Yogurt and we were immediately hit with a wall of music. The employees were dancing and singing animatedly. The atmosphere was really fun and exciting, and the store was artsy and colorful. The employees were very nice and friendly, acting as though they thoroughly enjoyed their jobs. The yogurt itself, however, seemed pretty average. It wasn’t bad, but it was more reminiscent of soft-serve ice cream than yogurt and wasn’t very rich. They had basically the same toppings as Yogurt Mountain, though more accessible. Awesome Yogurt was very welcoming and enjoyable, but the yogurt itself kept it from the upper part of our list. — Lindsay Breslin

Service: ***
Atmosphere: ****
Yogurt: **
Toppings: **


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#3. Yoba:  4 stars

It was a search for Lindsay and I to find Yoba, which is in the far corner of The Greene. The place was basically empty, but based on its quality, I feel like location plays a major part in its obscurity. The place was small, but cozy and comfortable. The two employees were very friendly and helpful. They gave us the history of Yoba, which turns out to be the original yogurt vendor in the Dayton area. The yogurt was excellent, but very distinctly yogurt because it was more tart than sweet. Only about six flavors were available, but the yogurt was still the best we had tried thus far. They had a decent selection of toppings, though essentially the same as the other stores; they seemed to have more whole fresh fruit. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Yoba and would definitely go back. — Sam Barton

Service: ****
Atmosphere: ***
Yogurt: ****
Toppings: **

#2. Bad Frog Yogurt:  4.5 stars

The colorful Bad Frog logo was a spotlight for Sam and I as we walked down Brown Street near the University of Dayton campus. The store was narrow but welcoming, with colorful signs on the walls. The service was decent enough, with a couple employees who were very friendly. The yogurt was phenomenal, with a succulent richness and the perfect amount of sweetness. But the toppings were what caught my attention. Though the selection was basically the same as the other vendors, we counted more than a hundred toppings with a huge variety of sauces and fruits. Bad Frog Yogurt is an excellent store that seems to understand the yogurt business. — Lindsay Breslin

Service: ***
Atmosphere: ***
Yogurt: *****
Toppings: ****

#1. T-Willy’s Yogurt Emporium:  5 stars

Though each yogurt vendor had something special to bring to their store, they all fell short of T-Willy’s Yogurt Emporium. Located next to Dorothy Lane Market in Centerville, this store was the perfect vendor of frozen deliciousness. This family-owned business captured the cozy down-home feeling that the other stores could not. Every person there, including the customers, was as friendly as could be. One customer went on and on about how T-Willy’s was her favorite yogurt place, and that she wouldn’t go to any other. The yogurt was excellent, though very similar to Bad Frog’s; it was perfectly sweet with a creamy richness that left you wanting more. The toppings were seasonal, unique and homemade. They had the normal fruits and candies, while also offering such oddities as homemade pie crust and DLM Killer Brownies. The owner, a nice, engaging woman, even made their caramelized bananas right in front of us. T-Willy’s Yogurt Emporium was a cozy, friendly and delicious experience and will always be my first choice for frozen yogurt. — Sam Barton

Service: *****
Atmosphere: *****
Yogurt: *****
Toppings: *****