When Wichita's last surviving TCBY closed at Central and Woodlawn in 2007, it left a hole in the frozen yogurt market.
The hole was quickly filled by gelato, frozen custard and marble slab shops galore. But yogurt — slightly tarter and with lower fat than many of its frozen cousins — was hard to come by.
Recently, though, Wichita has acquired a couple of new yogurt shops, including Mix It Up, which opened last fall at 630 E. Douglas, and the new Froz at 3242 N. Rock Road.
Both offer a product that's more Pinkberry — a popular California yogurt chain — than TCBY.
ON THE MENU: Both stores serve several flavors of frozen yogurt, including a unique "original" that looks like vanilla but doesn't taste like it. Instead, the flavor is sweet but tart — very yogurty. Both also offer a variety of fresh fruit, candy and off-the-wall toppings such as Fruity Pebbles and Cap'n Crunch.
Mix It Up also sells coffee drinks, boba teas and Vietnamese and other deli sandwiches.
DON'T-MISS DISHES: The yogurt at Mix It Up and Froz tastes identical, but at the moment, Froz has more flavors.
On a recent visit, the bright and sleek-looking Froz was serving six flavors — original, cheesecake, strawberry, pink grapefruit, pomegranate and chocolate.
A sample of the pink grapefruit was great — zingy, citrusy and tart. But it was hard to imagine what toppings would complement it.
Instead, we ordered a small original (8 ounces) and topped it with plump fresh raspberries and chocolate chips. Among the many other topping options were fresh kiwi, mango, blueberries, a variety of nuts and collection of colorful candies. The small serving was actually huge and quite filling.
Mix It Up, which on two separate visits has been alarmingly devoid of customers, had only two flavors to choose from — original and lychee. Owners hope to offer more variety once the weather warms up.
The lychee had an odd, exotic flavor to it, but the original was identical to Froz's. Mix It Up has its toppings on a self-service bar on the counter, and customers help themselves to fresh fruits including lychee and papaya as well as nuts, candies and cereals.
Mix It Up also has a limited food menu, including an excellent Vietnamese sandwich, made with barbecue pork and marinated vegetables and served on fresh French bread for just $3.50.
AMBIENCE: Froz is inside a new strip center that sits back off of Rock Road, and its decor is contemporary, glossy and all black and white. The front of the store has a counter lined with futuristic- looking white stools. The room also includes several mod white tables and a seating area anchored by a white leather couch.
Mix It Up operates out of an old downtown building and has more of a funky feel with a few colorful couches and tables and chairs.
PRICE RANGE: Froz charges $3.85 for an 8-ounce serving, $4.15 for a 12-ounce and $4.45 for a 16-ounce. Toppings are an extra 50 cents apiece.
Mix It Up serves 8-, 12- and 16-ounce sizes, too, but lets customers load up the toppings themselves then charges a flat 38 cents an ounce for them.
SERVICE: Froz's lone counter worker was friendly and efficient. Mix It Up had several people working, but they were a bit disorganized when it came to food orders.