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Added Jan 06 2013

There is what looks like a major overhaul going on inside the space and all the windows are covered in paper. There is only a 'happy holidays' sign on the door. Does anyone know if they are just renovating, closed for the season, or if they are closed for good? I heart that place and I really hope they stick around, even if they close for the winter season!!!

  • Deb

    Not sure what's going on but saw the sign up the other day. It was ok but not the best frozen yogurt around. However, someone posted earlier that the gelato place in Lincoln Square is better. It's called Paciugo and yes it is amazing!! It's across the street from Cafe Sel Marie and I just went the other day. So worth it!

  • When I asked them on 12.23 what was going on, they said the would be opened again in the 3rd or 4th week of January so hopefully that's the case!

  • Scott Chicago Real Estate Broker - 15 Years in Lincoln Square

    My kids love Yogurt Square and my wife and and like it pretty well too! Glad to here it's not closing.

  • Shelly Lifelong suburbanite, now in South Lakeview.

    I had seen a sign about renovations, which I thought was pretty quick since they had just opened.

  • 12+ years we waited for something to go into that spot, which would have been perfect for a little bistro or coffee shop. Instead we got this place. Maybe the yogurt is good but it seems like such a faddish concept. I also wish they'd put a little more effort into making it look professional.

  • I think it was lovely, I think they're just renovating. Btw to say it's better than Paciugo is weird, Paciugo is gelato, it's a whole other animal. Paciugo is great, but Yogurt Square is frozen yogurt.

  • Agreed Esmerelda. Plus, it's a fantastic treat after going to LSAC across the street. it did fantastic business before it got too cold. If they could do a coffee shop/frozen yogurt hybrid, it would work pretty well, I think.

  • esinclai Chicago Quasi-Geek, 13 Year Rockwell/Lincoln Sq.

    There's a sign on the Leland side that states they are just renovating. Like Grace I worry about the faddish (and seasonal) nature of frozen yogurt - and like Shelly I find it confusing that they are renovating so quickly. Maybe they had to open fast to secure some license/lease contingency. The winter would be the time to do it, anyway...

  • Dan S. Lifelong Chicagoan. Ravenswood resident. Father.

    Sorry, but I have to say this place has some of the most garish decor I have seen in a long time. Looks like a poorly executed 1960s vision of the future. Their design sensibility leads me to assume that the ingredients in their yogurt are equally bad, though I haven't asked.

    Here's hoping the renovations improve the look. They seem to do a brisk summer business regardless.

  • kimk

    Does it really matter what it looks like as long as the yogurt is delicious and the staff is nice and it is clean? Also, it is January, so they probably closed for a long holiday break which is not uncommon.

  • Dan S. Lifelong Chicagoan. Ravenswood resident. Father.

    It matters to me. If you like the place, by all means enjoy. I prefer Paciugo for the occasional cold treat.

  • MikeyJoe Rocket scientist

    Here it comes: Lincoln Park NW. Suppose it was inevitable with the 35' wide lots.

    It's just frozen yogurt, family style. I don't think they're gunning for placement on an interior design top 10 landmark list or any Michelin stars.

  • Really cant compare Gelato and frozen yogurt.. Gelato is nice for once in a while, But frozen yogurt I can have more often, not just because it's healthier but because it's less rich and I cant get sick of it. My son also loves it and I can take him there more often without feeling guilty. I was extremely happy when I saw this place open.

  • I think Jenn is correct - an employee told me in December that they were closing for 3 weeks around the holidays to remodel.

  • Definitely a remodel. There were signs on the windows saying they were closing December 23rd for remodeling (no "end date" listed). They were giving out free yogurt on the 23rd.

    I think it was the Center Square Journal that did an article on the place awhile back, if I remember correctly the guy has a friend that owned a yogurt place that was doing well and he was looking for a business so he decided to hop on the yogurt train. Soon after they opened they switched out their bar stool chairs, I think the remodel is just the owner being excited about his business and looking for ways to improve it (and you can't really improve on the yogurt and toppings, because they are awesome). Also - remember they had a weird little coffee setup in there for awhile? I think he's just excited and it's really nice to see a business owner who is getting into his business and not just kicking back and raking in the profits while doing the bare minimum.

    If you look, most of the yogurt places that have opened up have a similar design - maybe it's in the "own your own business catalog," page 54 - Yogurt ;)

    I love Yogurt Square, I love that you can go in and pick a couple flavors, or just one, you can pick your toppings from an array of really fresh fruits or the classic toppings, but mostly I love that I can go and buy a small amount of yogurt if that's all I want. I like Paciugo as well, but that's not really the same thing and I always feel pressured into sharing whatever my son is getting because I know he won't eat it all and I hate to waste. At Yogurt Square, I can get him his dollop of whatever weird thing he wants and I can get something more adult. My one criticism of the place is the buckets you get to put your yogurt in, I'd like to see a smaller option so I don't feel so much like I'm wasting paper.

  • I think it matters kimk. I am admittedly biased as a graphic designer, but good design makes a business look professional and improves the entire area in which it resides. It attracts customers and other businesses. It's one reason why certain retail stretches in the city grow and prosper while others languish. Lincoln Square has the foot traffic, public transportation and disposable income to support a really thriving retail stretch. Selmarie, Genes, Chopping Block, Enjoy, etc. seem to get it and the neighborhood is better for it.

    Sure, ultimately the place must be clean and the product must be good. But I tend to question the business sense of an owner who doesn't see the value in hiring professionals to make their business look the best it can. It makes me wonder where else they cut corners.

    I get that new business owners are often low on cash, but I'd have rather seen a very simple design for the store and its identity than the DIY tacky that they decided on. I'm hoping for the renovations they actually hired a pro.

  • I also question the notion that frozen yogurt from a soft serve machine is any healthier than gelato. I haven't eaten at Yogurt Square but I've eaten at a few self serve froyo places and they all seem to follow a similar formula. The yogurt mix isn't exactly freshly made on premises. It seems to come from a bag or a powder. And the toppings you can add range wildly in their nutritional value.

    From what I can tell Pacuigo makes their gelato on site with milk (not cream) and pretty fresh ingredients. It doesn't seem as processed to me.

    Not that you should either every day, but it just doesn't seem especially truthful to imply that one is vastly healthier than the other.

  • kimk

    Interesting perspectives....I walk in to buy it and then I eat it when I walk out. There are certainly less appealing establishments in the square....but that's kind of the charm isn't it? We aren't trying to be the Southport Cooridor.

  • Dan S. Lifelong Chicagoan. Ravenswood resident. Father.

    Thanks to Grace for saying exactly what I was thinking. There's a difference between having design taste and being fancy. If you find it charming, god bless. I do not, and I am hoping, like Grace, that they have hired good people to help with the renovation.

  • They're definitely just remodeling. There was a sign up for awhile, it seems to be gone now, and they were giving out free yogurt before they closed for the remodel on Dec 23rd. I think it was the Center Square Journal that did a write up on them months back - if I remember correctly the owner was looking for a business opportunity and has a friend that owns a yogurt shop downtown that was doing well so he decided to give it a try.

    If you look at the design, it's very similar to ALL of the yogurt places that are popping up. It's like there's a catalog out there "Own your own business - yogurt" and this design is on page 54. The owner seems genuinely excited about his business and I give him kudos for that. He had some bar stools in there for the first few weeks, then swapped them out for new ones (nothing wrong with the old ones). He had a coffee station there that wasn't working, so he took it out. I get the impression that he did the base model "yogurt shop" (because there is definitely a supplier out there selling the theme, colored tiles and all) and then when he realized it was going to be successful he started tweaking it. I could be wrong, but that's just the impression I get as someone who walks by all the time and sees the owner constantly there working on it or wandering around.

    The yogurt is good, the toppings are all fresh, and I love the place regardless of what it looks like. I'm more prone to look past the decor and see a small business owner who is really trying to make it work for the community than I am to think a store is a good addition to the neighborhood just because the design fits in and people like the eclectic array of stuff sold there (even when the clerks gossip and drop F-Bombs within 2 feet of my 4 year old like a certain store in the square). At Yogurt Square I know they're professional, the owner cares, and I get a yummy treat.

  • Just to show what I was talking about with the idea that it's probably a design package that the guy went with just for ease:

    Little Bunny Frozen Yogurt on Lincoln in North Center - Same design. I've seen others around as well but can't remember the names to google them.

    Do these tiles look familiar? From a yogurt equipment supplier's site showing a store in Jew Jersey: http://www.sentryequipment.net/images/yogurt4-1L.jpg

    Hey - this is a different color but the same design, in Washington: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/x3ZyfgJz3Rfu7cLv4eBHpg?select=i87-BiuE6N9BwNG3Al1zcg#i87-BiuE6N9BwNG3Al1zcg

    And here's the Center Square Journal Article I was talking about: http://www.centersquarejournal.com/news/yogurt-square

  • Rob S. Albany Park resident, condo owner. Dog owner.

    I'm surprised that more people in this thread would support a franchise like paciugo and not a mom & pop place like Yogurt Square. Either way, I think they're both great places and I try to support them equally. They both have completely different offerings. One is a yogurt place you pay by weight and can load up toppings, the other is gelato. They both do what they do pretty well--but they are not at all the same.

  • Sarah Flagg Editor @ LincolnSquare.Patch.com, Chicago newbie:)

    Hey All,
    You're right- just remodeling. I spoke to the owner yesterday and put this together.
    http://patch.com/A-0SmN

    He's making some changes too - more flavors!
    Sarah

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