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The Yogurt Place opens by Lakeside

A look inside The Yogurt Place which opened up last month. Photo by - Paula Quam1 / 3
The yogurt place is attached to the Lakeside Tavern across from the city beach. Photo by - Paula Quam2 / 3
The Yogurt Place offers up to 15 different flavors of yogurt, as well as dozens of toppings, including freshly cut fruit, nuts, syrups, candies and cereals. Photo by - Paula Quam3 / 3

The popularity of frozen yogurt is now officially part of the "culture" of Detroit Lakes.

The Yogurt Place, located in a space attached to the Lakeside Tavern on across from the city beach, opened its doors last month.

Owner Jerry Maley and business manager Dana Christiansen of Fargo say they got the idea after watching one yogurt shop after another pop up in Arizona, where they have a home.

They thought briefly about getting into a yogurt franchise, but ultimately decided to build one themselves -- something that would better reflect themselves.

While the idea of a yogurt business sat well with Maley, who already owned a few businesses in Fargo, the creating and putting ideas together began more with Christiansen.

"I knew I wanted a warm, neutral, happy -feeling place," said Christiansen, "I wanted it to be a place where people wanted to be and hang out."

Hence, the simple, inviting name "The Yogurt Place" and its quaint little logo of just a cup and pretty swirl of yogurt.

Earthy brown and a Caribbean sea-colored blue, mixed with modern stainless steal décor and furniture may give customers more of a spa-feeling experience, rather than the usual, bright-colored yogurt shops, but that's exactly what Maley and Christiansen intended.

"I wanted to be different than the rest of the other yogurt places," said Maley, "I didn't want all the bright colors and all that, I wanted it to be more relaxed, more homey feeling, more comfortable."

Newcomers may not always feel totally relaxed, however, as the first glimpse of the toppings -- all 60 of them -- may just give them a bit of "culture" shock.

"We know when it's somebody's first time in because their eyes just go like this," said Christiansen with big, open eyes, "so we bring them in and start showing them around."

Frozen yogurt novices are shown where they get their cups and how to work the self-serve yogurt machines that squeeze out ten different kinds of yogurt -- 15 if you choose the middle lever, which blends certain flavors.

"This yogurt is a pure yogurt," said Maley, "there's no powder or anything; it's made with natural fruits."

The Tahitian vanilla is sugar free, fat free, as is the strawberry.

They also have "tart" that's a Greek-style yogurt with a very natural flavor, pomegranate, pink lemonade and the red velvet cupcake.

Customers pick the size, the amount, and by all means ... the toppings.

"We have the bobas, which is like a liquid fruit gusher that pops in your mouth, nuts, chocolate chips, cookie bites, gummy worms, gummy bears, cereals, fruit loops, captain crunch..." said Christiansen, adding that the Yogurt Place also cuts fresh fruit every day for toppings, while offering a variety of sauces and syrups including raspberry, peanut butter, chocolate, strawberry, marshmallow, caramel and butterscotch.

Christiansen says everything is gluten free except the Oreos and the animal crackers.

Once the toppings are piled on, the personal creations are weighed for pricing -- 42 cents an ounce.

"The most expensive one we've ever sold was $15, and that was in our extra large cups, just piled high, so our prices are very reasonable," said Christiansen.

The Yogurt Place is a quaint, little 1,200-square-foot space, but Maley says the location in the completely remodeled space was just too good to give up --it faces the lake and is right next to the busy Lakeside Tavern.

The Yogurt Place is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., but may occasionally stay open later for those needing their late-night frozen fix.