Fro-yo employee Ashley Vaughn, left, and owner Katy Vaughn stand inside the new frozen yogurt store in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Photo by John F. Russell

Fro-yo employee Ashley Vaughn, left, and owner Katy Vaughn stand inside the new frozen yogurt store in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Frozen yogurt gets simple at new Steamboat shop

Self-serve shop located at kiosk on Fifth and Lincoln

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The self-serve frozen yogurt shop, Fro-yo, lets customers choose what kind of flavor they want and then they can add an assortment of toppings.

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Fro-yo offers frozen yogurt by the ounce.

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Pick your frozen yogurt flavor, and then your toppings. Fro-yo offers the customer the chance to create their own treats.

— Katy and Brian Vaughn already owned a fine dining restaurant with one of the fastest-growing reputations in Steamboat Springs. So for their next trick, they went in a different direction and allowed their customers to take matters into their own spoons.

The result is Fro-yo, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop in a handsome brick kiosk at the corner of Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue. In the early going (they opened June 29), one of the most popular flavors at fro-yo is sea salt caramel pretzel. But customers also can go the non-fat, no-sugar route. And toppings range from fresh fruit to gummy worms.

The couple own bistro c.v. just a block away. Owning a restaurant already involves demanding hours, so when the Vaughns looked to expand, they didn’t want to add more complexity.

“I like that it’s simple and fun,” Katy Vaughn said. “I told (landlord) Bruce Caplowe that if this kiosk ever opened up, I wanted to talk to him.”

At Fro-yo, the program couldn’t be any simpler:

■ Grab a cup.

■ Pick your flavor (and help yourself to portion you desire).

■ Choose your toppings.

■ Weigh the end result and pay the cashier.

No matter what you choose to place on top of your frozen yogurt, the end result will be charged at 50 cents per ounce. It’s a similar fee structure to what’s in place at a grocery store salad bar.

Brian Vaughn said he and his wife were very detailed in considering the food costs of the various toppings and settling on the amount they needed to charge to make Fro-yo work. From blueberries to candy, the toppings all cost what they weigh.

“This isn’t a new concept, but I wanted to make it have a different feel and unique to Steamboat,” Katy Vaughn said. “We’re open to suggestions from our customers on what they like.”

On any given day there are six flavors of frozen yogurt from Honey Hill Farms available at Fro-yo, but they are in a frequent rotation that brings new flavors to the shop. This week, a little more than 3 ounces of Tahitian vanilla would cost a customer less than $2 and 80 calories. The toppings, of course, would change both numbers. But the point is, the customer has control over how many calories and dollars they spend.

Soon, Brian Vaughn said, they expect to add 100 percent pro-biotic yogurt made from milk from local cows and produced by Yoki Bliss in Boulder.

Vaughn set out from the beginning to make sure that men, not just fathers in family groups, felt comfortable at Fro-yo. There’s a not-so-subtle reference to that goal to be found in a play on words designed into the frozen yogurt restaurant’s graphic logo that portrays the head and face of a man with a chin beard and an Afro hairstyle.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable here,” Vaughn said. “We’re catering to all types of people, from families to teens to adults.”

Located in the heart of a restaurant district that includes Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, Mambo Italiano and Fifth Street Market in addition to bistro c.v., Fro-yo is dependent on foot traffic from passersby and diners coming out of nearby restaurants on a year-round basis.

“We’ll give it a shot and see how winter goes,” Brian Vaughn said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

John Weibel 2 years, 3 months ago

Too bad that local yogurt has to come from the front range.

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John Weibel 2 years, 3 months ago

Let me rephrase my comment. I think that it is great that the Vaughn's have opened up their frozen yogurt shop. I will be a frequent customer and it is great they have sourced a product out of Boulder.

I am simply frustrated that in trying to provide local dairy products, I thought I had all my I's dotted and t's crossed. Come to find out that even though I asked the building department if a permit was needed for an agricultural structure last fall and was told no. I was informed this spring that while it is not required for an agricultural structure that it is if I want to process in the agricultural structure. The delay's and need to invest more money have forced me to put my project on hold. Until I can bring my barn up to code, if that is possible.

The biggest frustration has been that in trying to understand a need for a firewall between the two structures to not bring the barn up to code and operate. I was given the answer as to the building department did not understand why ag structures were exempted from the building departments oversight.

I suggested to the commissioners that maybe they should have some guidance on what someone is required to have inspected.

I also sought to negotiate some way around a firewall, as bringing the 80 year old barn up to code might be a larger project than I can afford today. Yet, most of what will be needed I planed on doing in the future anyway. So completing the cheap fix would be throwing money away in my eyes. If I am going to allocate capital to something, I want to make sure that it is going to last.

Anyway, I am simply frustrated with a plan that I thought would be successful and employ several other people needs to be put on hold and I apologize to the Vaughns for my comment.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 3 months ago

John, I know that this is not what you want to do, but have you considered a commercial space for your food processing? That could be a much cheaper way to be have a place for production than working on your barn. Space in Hayden (my guess of a nearby town) is quite affordable.

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John Weibel 2 years, 3 months ago

That is the ultimate plan, but I would need to be milking many more cows than the few I am today.

That would require a major capital investment, in trucking, equipment, additional staffing, livestock and would not give me the opportunity to make mistakes. I have red blood flowing through my veins and am going to make mistakes, just like those that invented the codes that we can not review or discuss. Though when I make mistakes here, the byproducts go to the pigs. In addition the requirement to cool the milk then heat it and cool it again really is inefficient. Here I can take it from cow to cheese vat and use less energy and be more "sustainable".

Right now, I have dried off or paired up cows with calves and am still milking 8 head to feed my pigs. Just trying to get through this year and eek out something for myself right now and hopefully find some way to move forward as the CDPHE, the guys that really matter and would inspect me once a month have walked through and were okay with the facility. Though they said it was very small with which I agree as it is a temporary set up and ultimately just a chilling area for the milk.

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max huppert 2 years, 3 months ago

you ever able to bring your ground beef price down? call me, maybe we can work something out in alot of areas. I also want fresh pork. Max

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John Weibel 2 years, 3 months ago

Sorry Max, it is hard to compare vs the industrial model. My processing charges are higher as it is dry aged, the water content is lower because of lack of added hormones and the dry aging. Couple this with many hamburger products which have soy added in to reduce the price.

Maybe way down the road, but on a beef cow I do not see it happening. Though I will never say never. Pork their is no way I will compete with the big boys.

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John Weibel 2 years, 3 months ago

Max, as I would like to see high quality food in our schools. How about potatoes, I think I can compete price wise on that until November (no storage after that). Call me if you want. They will not be ready until September/October but I hope to have thousands of pounds this year, more next. Call if you want

I probably can get you Kale by then and you can make potato kale soup for lunch. My son loves it, don't know about how the rest of the kids would like it as they look at his leftovers for lunch as if they are from Mars.

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