The self-serve yogurt craze has finally hit the Upper West Side, just a few blocks from my five blocks. 16 HANDLES opened at 325 Amsterdam Avenue (between 75th & 76th Street) and is the first of its kind in the neighborhood. In fact, the self-serve yogurt shop has been slower to come to New York in general. I recently visited Los Angeles, which has many different ones, including Menchies, Yogurtland, FroyoLife, and others.
At 16 HANDLES, there are 16 flavors with non-fat, low-fat, no sugar added, and non-dairy options. Computer screens at each machine detail the flavor and all its nutritional facts. A sampling of today’s flavors include:
- Low-Fat: Birthday Cake, Red Velvet and Peanut Butter Confession
- Non-Fat: Vanilla Sky, Banana, Pistachio, Chocolate Eruption, Cookies & Creme, Coffee, EuroTart, Rasberry Tart, White Tea Peach Tart, Pomegranate Tart
- No Sugar Added: Irish Mint
- Non-Dairy: Mango Tango, Berry Medley
What’s unique is not only the self-serve approach for the yogurt, but also the over 40 toppings to choose from. You can self-serve a lot or a little of fruit, dry and syrup toppings from nuts to fruit to chocolate sauces to cookies and more. Once you’ve loaded up your yogurt and toppings, the cashier weighs the final amount and charges by the ounce.
Since it just opened, the Upper West Side location is a bit chaotic right now. Unfortunately, sometimes the line to build toppings and pay runs right into the yogurt machines, causing build-up during peak hours. Watch out for evenings and the after-school rush. That being said 16 HANDLES is a delicious and fun approach to soft-serve frozen yogurt. It appeals to the customization craze (there are enough flavors and toppings to satisfy every member of the family!), the store is bright and colorful, and the prices are reasonable. It is a happy place!
As a side note, 16 HANDLES is committed to helping the environment. They use cornstarch spoons and biodegradable cups, and compost and recycle whenever possible. They also partner with Trees for the Future; every 16 Handles location helps plant 16 trees every day.
For more information and additional locations, check out the website at http://www.16handles.com.