Cheap Eats: Sweet Frog 'does something to your spirit'
Stop by Sweet Frog in York Township, and you likely will see a line along the wall of self-serve frozen yogurt.
Sometimes that line trails outside, as guests wait to fill their cups with yogurt and toppings. The rush sometimes comes from Sunday church-goers, people looking for dessert after a date or a movie, or high school students.
Don't let that line stop you from going. It moves quickly, and the payoff is worth the short wait.
I had never heard of Sweet Frog until I noticed one crop up in Queensgate Shopping Center, also home to Weis and Frank Theatres. It's a popular franchise in the South and just recently made its debut in Pennsylvania.
Steve and Sherrie Pettit of Lynchburg, Va., who are York County natives, opened the business in late March. Sweet Frogs opened in Hanover and Mechanicsburg shortly after. The Pettits plan to open two more in Lancaster and Shrewsbury.
"We wanted to see this franchise go North," Steve Pettit said. "We just really believe in it."
I stopped by recently for some dessert during lunch. I had been there once before and knew how the system works.
Guests may choose among 14 flavors of frozen yogurt, which might change on any given day. Along with traditional flavors, the menu could include Thin Mint Cookie, Mango Sorbet, New York Cheesecake, Peanut Butter, Pineapple, Maple Bacon Donut, Pumpkin Pie and Red Velvet. Fill your cup with as much or as little as you want, and move on to the toppings.
That's where it really gets crazy. I spooned some blueberries and strawberries on my vanilla yogurt as I passed about 50 choices: pound cake, nuts, peanut butter, pieces of candy bars, gummy worms, mallow cream, and cheesecake and brownie bites. The list goes on.
I enjoyed the consistency of the yogurt and the ability to choose how much I wanted and what I wanted on top. Employees weigh your cup, and you pay by the ounce, kind of like an ice cream salad bar.
Pettit said he and his wife trust the business philosophy of the founder, Derek Cha, who opened the first store in 2009 in Richmond. More than 100 Sweet Frogs have sprung up in 15 states and in South Korea.
Pettit said the business aims to offer a light-spirited atmosphere and give people choices in a down economy. Its bright pink, lime green and aqua walls help create that feel. Frog stands for "Fully Rely on God," and Pettit said franchises must follow that example.
"We all have the freedom to choose how we influence the world and our community," said Pettit, who has been a pastor for 30 years.
He said each franchise must donate proceeds to a nonprofit of its choice. The Pettits picked Freedom 4/24, an organization that helps women who are trafficked or sexually exploited around the world. They also plan to help organizations in York County.
Pettit said he hopes Sweet Frog continues to be a place that people want to come and enjoy.
"It does something to your spirit," he said. "It just makes an experience that people just want to keep coming back for."
Cheap Eats profiles local restaurants, aiming to please our palates and our wallets. Reach Leigh Zaleski at 717-771-2101, firstname.lastname@example.org, @leighzaleski.
If you goLOCATION: Sweet Frog, 2071 Springwood Road in York Township
CUISINE: Soft-serve frozen yogurt
LEIGH'S PICK: Country vanilla with strawberries and blueberries ($3.17)
HOURS: 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
PRICE RANGE: 39 cents per ounce
ACCEPTS: Cash and credit
KID'S MENU: No
DETAILS: Call 717-668-8646 or sweetfrogyogurt.com