This … is Southie. The noise you hear at the moment is the sound of yuppies rocketing toward the intersection of East Broadway and Dorchester Street, beckoned by the latest upscale eatery to tear at the fabric of this once proud community. This is the Fro-Yo Blitz, yet another terrible entry in the ongoing Gentrification Wars. To those residents who continue to stick by the claim that they can tell the difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream, we wish them good night, and good
Or … not.
Yes, Boston has its fair share of frozen yogurt joints. But South Boston, always the gritty, beating liver of the city, has been more or less resistant to the fro-yo trend—until now. In YoBerry, a new frozen yogurt and smoothie spot, the neighborhood has found an affordable (yes), down to earth (trust us), and uniquely “Southie” (really) alternative to regular ol’ ice cream. From a local, no less.
“I’ve been in Boston my entire life,” says the lanky, laid-back Brian Gajewski, who along with his brother, Bradley, owns and operates YoBerry (not to be confused with the now-defunct Yo! Berry formerly on Comm. Ave.). “I’ve been in Southie for five years,” he continues,
Namely, low-cost frozen yogurt with a wide variety of recognizable toppings. The fare at YoBerry ranges from health-conscious non-fat plain and tart blueberry yogurts to more decadent (i.e. low-fat) options such as espresso or cookies and cream. Toppings run a similar gamut—from toasted almonds to fresh cut fruit to Fruity Pebbles—and are of the “unlimited” variety for only one dollar on top of the usual three to four one pays for a cup. “We really wanted to stay away from franchising for that reason,” says Gajewski. “We stayed away from the Pinkberry-Orange Leaf-Red Mango and we don’t do any of the weigh and pay.”
As for those who’d cry “gentrification?” On two separate occasions, while just walking outside the establishment, this fro-yournalist was approached by locals and, sans prompting,
given a rundown of just how great YoBerry is, and a lesson in frozen yogurt and its close relationship to ice cream.
Of course, the affable Gajewski is more than comfortable talking about his product in ice cream terms—a quality which sets him apart from other, more fanatical (read: scary) fro-yo mongers. As a local business owner, his concerns remain with his patrons, and the admittedly changing neighborhood of South Boston. “Look at Stats [Bar and Grille]. It just came in and it’s one of the most popular places in the neighborhood. Going down the street on West Broadway is Foodies. I don’t think any of these places would have been as successful five, ten, fifteen years ago.
Being in a location facing such a drastic metamorphosis, Gajewski is looking to the future to ensure the continued success of YoBerry. And, right now, the future is fall, and the ever-present apple pie and pumpkin flavors that come with it. “Of course,” says Gajewski, “everyone knows ice cream and frozen yogurt isn’t as … favorable in the winter time, so we’re going to try new stuff then as well.”
Sure. Frozen yogurt in December. Nuts. About as nuts as frozen yogurt in Southie.