Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mr. Yogato

Meet Mr. Yogato, the host of 450 sq. ft. of pure, unfiltered fun that J and I have been regulars at since its opening last year. If we went any more often, an intervention might be necessary.

As transplants from the land of avocado and sprouts (key words on any DC menu for "California"), we were born and raised with frozen yogurt spoons in our mouths. Believe it or not, there was fro-yo before Pinkberry, but apparently not in DC...

About 1 year ago, Dupont Circle birthed two frozen yogurt shops that couldn't be more different; Tangy Sweet and Mr. Yogato. To be fair, we've never been to Tangy Sweet (they were out of yogurt the one time we tried to go), but a lifetime of experience has taught us that most yogurt is about the same, and it is the toppings and the environment that sets one shop apart.

As far as toppings go, Mr. Yogato generously doles out all of the standards (many are free like chocolate syrup). You'll also find a large and highly diverse treasure chest of atypical toppings, which are the result of a store policy that fulfills almost any customer request. Some are clearly motivated by a sweet tooth, while others must have come from a dare (Old Bay Seasoning or Vinegar anyone? At least they are free).

So they get points for toppings but what about the environment? This is where Mr. Yogato shines. In stark comparison to the chic and sterile Tangy Sweet, Mr. Yogato is unapologetically goofy and fun (and yes, the yogurt is good too). The shop is a perfect reflection of the fun-loving owners (a group of aerospace engineers), and in particular, the host with the most, Steve. Always quick with a joke or trivia question, Steve and his wonderful cast of characters are much of the reason that we, like so many others, are such loyal customers... even in the dead of winter.

For example, among the many "Rules of Yogato,"
  • If you will wear a yogato stamp on your head, you get 10% off.
  • If you can recite the Stirling battlefield speech from Braveheart in a great Scottish accent, you get 20% off yogurt.
  • Order a yogurt for 30 consecutive days and we'll name a flavor after you.
With that in mind, it shouldn't surprise you that trips to Yogato feature an original Nintendo game system for all to play, a pre-school sized table and chair set surrounded by cartoon yogurt and fruit murals, physical challenges, geography trivia (can you name 3 countries that don't share any letters with "mackerel"?*), and a free-for-all white board that allows for our personal favorite fro-yo eating activity... haiku writing.

So in tribute to our little taste of frozen and fat-free heaven (and as a 1st year birthday gift), we have commissioned some of the top fro-yo experts (read: Californians who have visited us in DC and made the pilgrimage to Mr. Yogato) to sing the praises of Mr. Y in the classic Japanese art form that is 5-7-5.

Childhood memories
Frozen yogurt everywhere
Yogurtless D.C.

Summer of '08
Yogato comes to DC
Happiness for all

Now when friends visit
Yogato fills the great void
Place to meet and eat

Lacking in most engineers
Not at Yogato

Smiles, fun and laughter
What more could you want in life?
How about fro-yo...

Mr. Yogato
Teaches more geography
Than most middle schools

Some say the world's flat
Geography: obsolete
Not at Yogato

Nobody valued
My geography major
Until Yogato

Country names with "Y's"
Because I know all of them
I save forty cents

Love haikus so much
See many on the white board
Yogato more fun

For discounted treat
Get a stamp on your forehead
Look silly like us

Like William Wallace
Mr. Y is a hero
And no fire from arse

No sweet tooth resists
Yogurt with candy on top
Or perhaps cookies?

Yo Yo Yogato
How'd your fro-yo get so good?
Must be the toppings

Peanut butter chip
Mixed with chocolate on my lips
What a pretty face

Praise for Yogato
Praise with prose, pictures, and verse
Yogato is king

*Djibouti, Togo, Fiji^

^Yes, Mr. Cartographer, I'm aware that their formal names are the Republic of Djibouti, the Togolese Republic, and the Republic of the Fiji Islands. By the way, you're no fun.
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