WHAT’S NEW?: Yogurtland spoons Harvard Sq.

photo-52After nearly six months since its approval by the Harvard Square Advisory Committee last November, the highly anticipated Yogurtland at 57 JFK Street opened its doors its doors and invited customers to come in and “get real.”

The company’s trademarked slogan refers to its all-natural frozen yogurt, which is made entirely from real ingredients without any artificial coloring or preservatives.

Yogurtland officially opened Saturday, June 15 and handed out free samples over the weekend.

Yogurtland has come a long way since it was founded in 2006. What began as a small California-based business is now expanding rapidly throughout the US, South America, Guam and Australia. Over the past year, the franchise has been dedicated to developing a presence on the east coast, with a specific focus on Boston and its surrounding areas. The Cambridge flagship has occupied the space that formerly belonged to Faron Salon near the restaurants Bon Chon, Shabu-Ya and Maharaja. After a six-month makeover, the storefront now has a bright blue and lime green tiled exterior that makes it nearly impossible to miss.

In an effort to create a fun, inviting environment that encourages patrons to sit down and eat their desserts rather than the typical “get it and get out” mindset that many to-go establishments have adopted, Yogurtland acquired a zoning permit for a slight recession into the pre-existing retail area to make room for outdoor seating. This way, customers have the option to stay inside (closer to the toppings bar) or venture away from temptation to a table beneath an umbrella. The lucky few who snag seats outside won’t interfere with the summer sidewalk traffic, though we have a feeling that once the word spreads, the line at the door just might.

This froyo-lover’s paradise offers 16 different flavors that are constantly changing according to seasonal availability and popularity based on customer feedback. Original favorites such as plain tart, Madagascar vanilla and chocolate milkshake can be paired with any of the 45 topping options that range from fresh fruit to sugary cereals. Have an insatiable sweet tooth? Indulge in s’mores, red velvet, pumpkin pie, birthday cupcake batter or cinnamon roll. Fruitier options include blackberry passion fruit, guava pineapple and juicy peach. If you’re looking to try something new, taro, matcha green tea and crème brulee are just a few of Yogurtland’s more adventurous offerings.

Local residents wondering why the area needs another frozen yogurt shop after the recent arrival of Pinkberry right around the corner can rest assured that the two are hardly competition. While Pinkberry operates based on a traditional upscale full service model,  Yogurtland uses a more accessible self-serve system with a weigh-and-pay approach that enables complete control over the portion, flavor profile and overall cost of each carefully crafted concoction. Plus, it’s open from 11 a.m. until midnight every day, perfect for a refreshing snack or late night fix. –Alessia Antonucci