Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Menchie's (Garneau) - Grand Opening


I was invited to the grand opening of Menchie's first location in Edmonton. It's right across from Garneau Theatre on 109 St, just a little bit south of Saskatchewan Drive. The place has actually been in business for 6 weeks, but the grand opening was on June 1, preceded by a blogurt fest for local food bloggers. We were given a brief history of how the company started, which I thought was quite interesting. It all began when the founders, Danna and Adam, went on a date to a frozen yogurt shop. They didn't like the experience and thought they could do better, so they started their own frozen yogurt chain which eventually developed into a franchise. We found out that "mench" refers to "a good person with desirable qualities" in Yiddish. Adam used to call Danna his menchie, so that was the name they used for their stores.

Menchie's has several locations in Vancouver, but I've never been to one since I'm not crazy about frozen treats like ice cream or yogurt. I enjoy eating frozen yogurt on occasion, but I rarely crave it. As such, I wasn't sure whether I should attend, but something on the invitation caught my eye. It read: "I know, I know, we're another frozen yogurt shop, shops of this variety are popping up everywhere, we're copycats and we're nothing new. Well, before you write us off and decide that you've wasted enough dollars on the frozen yogurt craze, we'd like you to try our frozen yogurt. On us." So I figured why not? I was curious about what makes them so special.

The first thing that hit me as I stepped into the store was the upbeat atmosphere. The colours were vibrant, cheerful and simply demanded attention.


On a wall near the entrance were pictures of Hollywood stars enjoying their Menchie's yogurt. And I was surprised to see that Menchie's even has their own branded merchandise.


The first step to create your own yogurt is to pick up an empty cup or a waffle cup. The pricing is simple: $0.55 per ounce (28.35 grams) and $1 for the waffle cup. Then it's time to choose the yogurt or yogurts! There are 16 flavours available at a time with over 100 rotating flavours. Each of the 8 yogurt machines has 3 nozzles: 2 nozzles with different flavours and the middle nozzle is a mix of the two. I sampled all 16 flavours and thought most of them were decent. I enjoyed both the rich and intense flavours such as the chocolate and peanut butter and the milder flavours like the tart and fruity ones. The only ones I did not appreciate were the cake batter and red velvet. We were told that the cake batter is a bestseller, but personally I found the taste very strange. I almost didn't want to try it, but I did for the sake of this post. It wasn't as bad as I had imagined, but I still can't wrap my head (and tongue) around a cake in frozen semi-liquid form. I know that a lot of people enjoy eating real cake batter; those must be the same people that enjoy cake batter yogurt. I've always thought that eating raw flour, raw eggs and milk is pretty gross.


I think this store has the most toppings I've ever seen offered at a frozen yogurt shop. There are 40 dry toppings including all sorts of chocolate and candy bits, as well as nuts, granola, graham crumbs, and even yogurt-covered pretzels.


Then there are the chilled toppings such as fresh fruit, cheesecake, cookie dough, blueberry mochi, and lychee popping boba. I can't really comment on most of the toppings because I tend to stick with fruit. I liked how the fruit was cold but not frozen, and there were no ice chunks. I don't like the artificial and processed stuff, but I did try the cookie dough and it wasn't stale and it didn't have that freezer/fridge taste. All of the toppings seemed fresh.


My finished product was chocolate banana, classic vanilla, and strawberry sorbet topped with fresh fruits (strawberries, banana, and pineapple). This picture is kind of ugly because I was too busy eating and forgot to take a picture until I was halfway through. I thought the waffle cup would be crispy, but actually it was a bit chewy throughout. It did taste like there was a bit of moisture in it, but it wasn't soggy at all. Even though it was still enjoyable, I would've preferred a crispy texture.


Near the end of the event, Menchie's mascot came out to greet us. I'd like to get my hands on this costume for Halloween. It's so cute!


So what differentiates Menchie's from other frozen yogurt brands? Well unlike other brands that get their yogurt from a supplier (the same supplier in many cases), Menchie's has their own private label yogurt. In my opinion, it does taste a bit better than the other yogurt places I've been to: Qoola, Tutti Frutti and Pinkberry. The flavour is richer, deeper, and closer to the real thing. Menchie's also has an atmosphere that I haven't experienced with other chains. From the colourful decor to the friendly staff, this is a place that exudes cheeriness and comfort.

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2 comments:

Ken on June 04, 2013 6:57 pm said...

Wow I was there this past Saturday afternoon too... right next door at Remedy, sketching with my friend. Was wondering what was going on when I saw the line up, driving in -- I guess I'll have to try it now huh = ) haha, cheers

krispy on June 04, 2013 8:19 pm said...

Sure give it a try :)
They gave out free yogurt for the first 4 hours, hence the long lineup.

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