Pure Yogurt Culture opens at long last

While I was looking the other way, the moment I had been so desperately awaiting finally arrived.  Right under my nose, Pure Yogurt Culture (8108 Hampson Street) opened at last!  The paper covering the windows came down and the newest dessert shop in my ‘hood already had some steady clientele. When I walked into the clean, well-designed establishment, which featured a white bubble, drop-ceiling and textured walls, I almost felt like I was inside a vat of frozen yogurt and I didn’t mind one bit.

Inset into the far wall were dispensers marked with flavors like Pure Tart (the simplest and most delicious in my opinion), Chocolate, Mango and Who Dat…a mystery mix of flavors that was a noticeable hit for incoming patrons. A group of young men from the nearby college couldn’t get enough of it and recommended it highly to anyone who would listen.  I guessed the flavor to be coconut, but the vivacious owner, Herbert Leyton, told me to guess again.

A longtime resident of New Orleans, Leyton explained how he and his wife are a bit fanatical and have made it a point to taste frozen yogurt from shops all over the world like New York, Singapore, Jakarta, Germany and Hong Kong.  After getting laid off from a major oil company a year ago, Leyton decided to live the dream and finally open a shop of his own.  With a focus on fresh ingredients from local farmers and a passion for high quality, non-fat yogurt, his dream has finally become a reality and the proof is in the pudding…or in this case, the yogurt.

Although the concept seemed to elude one (extremely rude) customer while I was there, Pure Yogurt Culture is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop that I found both novel and convenient.  Grab a cup from the stand, fill it with yogurt, as much or as little as you like (feel free to mix it up), select your toppings and weigh your final creation.  Each personalized yogurt only costs a mere 45 cents per ounce.

Speaking of toppings, Leyton offered a variety of choices from fresh fruits like bananas, strawberries and pineapple to crunchier options including granola, Capt N Crunch and Fruity Pebbles.  He also provides condiments that lean towards the sweet tooth; M&M’s, chocolate chips, Gummy Bears and Ghirardelli Syrups like chocolate, white chocolate and caramel.

With a sigh of relief and a huge smile, I devoured some delicious, Pure Tart frozen yogurt laden with fresh strawberries and watched the curious dessert-lovers file into the shop.  In the short time I was there, Pure Yogurt Culture enjoyed a steady stream of clients who seemed just as excited as I was to see this place open at last. I hope that my fears will be unfounded and Herbert Leyton will be a huge success despite the stiff competition from Cold Stone and Baskin Robbins that lie only steps away.  After all of his hard work, enduring passion and perseverance, he deserves to see his dreams made a reality. 

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.”

Pure torture….

I realize the big gossip surrounding yogurt these days concerns Pinkberry, the California born franchise that is making a big splash in the Uptown community, offering samples of their nonfat goodies even before the real opening day which just happens to be tomorrow, Friday, April 16th.  Choosing a location right across from Whole Foods on Magazine Street was a stroke of genius…who wouldn’t notice a healthful dessert shop so close to the only healthful grocery option in town?

I suppose if I lived in that neighborhood, I would be more jazzed about Pinkberry, but what has me all a flutter is the new yogurt shop opening up in my ‘hood, Pure Yogurt Culture.  Among the many new eateries throwing wide their doors in the Carrollton neighborhood, Pure Yogurt Culture is attempting to succeed where others have failed by opening yet another dessert option within one block of Camilla Grill.  The competition is stiff in this neck of the woods where you can find a Cold Stone AND a Baskin Robbins within walking distance of its intended location on Hampson Street…not to mention the ever popular New Orleans Original Daquiris.

The suspense is killing me and I find myself frantically rubbernecking every time I drive past, trying to get a glimpse of their progress.  Ever since the signage went up for Pure Yogurt Culture, the windows have been covered in large sheets of thick, white paper…making a view inside impenetrable even to my snooping eyes.  At night I can see dark silhouettes moving behind the papered windows and my angst grows even more, knowing the owners are growing ever closer to opening their doors….but when?

To be perfectly honest, I hope Pure Yogurt Culture leans away from the “skinny” trends and leans more towards full fat, full flavor frozen yogurt with lots of healthful, and not so healthful toppings.  As you know from my “cheat” blogs on NewOrleans.com, I have no interest in seeking out dessert that is good for me..  I look forward to trying a new dessert spot in the Riverbend as I have definitely exhausted all the rest.  After all, why should Magazine Street have all the fun?

Until, the opening of Pure Yogurt Culture on Hampson Street, you’ll probably catch me trying to sneak a peek in their window from time to time, tapping my fingertips on the glass, chanting “Open, open open…” like the woman in that annoying Mervyn’s commercial.  Who knows?  Maybe I won’t have to wait that much longer, therefore lessening the chances of making a fool of myself…or not!