Froyo Frodown

 

Moberry — For when you don’t have high enough expectations.

Moberry used to be the only option in town and was quite popular. But as competition has increased, they’ve quickly fallen out of favor — as evidenced by their sporadic and confusing hours. I made my way to Moberry at 4 p.m. on a weekday and, despite their website indicating they would be open, a sign on their door said otherwise. If you’d like to indulge in some Moberry on Monday through Wednesday, you’re completely out of luck.

That being said, I was able to try their yogurt: It’s good — that’s it. You can pay a premium to relinquish that control to someone behind a counter, though I’ve no idea why you would. Their flavor and topping choices are the most restrictive of the bunch — there are only four yogurt flavors to choose from.

The atmosphere is modern but somewhat uncomfortable, detracting even more from the overall quality of the experience. The location on Kagy east of Wilson is more convenient than U-Swirl, but certainly less convenient than Culture.

U-Swirl — For when you need some generic yogurt and you’re willing to deal with a horde of unruly kids to get it.

Location is important, and U-Swirl’s can only be described as subprime. It is not within walking distance (for most people) and requires a drive on some of Bozeman’s most notoriously soul-sucking thoroughfares. It’s located at the most infamous intersection in town: 19th and Main.

My first impression of U-Swirl was, “Good god almighty this place is tacky.” If there is a prime example of what corporate yogurt looks like, this is it. Faux modern furniture in an unimaginitive blue and green color palate characterizes the shop.

I marvelled at the number of yogurt flavors, but was immediately irked by the absence of sample cups. However, I did notice a sign indicating that you could sample, but had to ask an employee for assistance. I might have been willing to do so at first, but I soon found the staff to be cool and apathetic. U-Swirl certainly had a remarkable assortment of toppings (surpassing the selection at the other froyo locations) but it was going to take more than that for me to give up my resentment about the sampling.

The lounge area of U-Swirl made me uncomfortable, as it effectively forces strangers to stare at each other while they eat their yogurt. Being watched is the last thing I want when I’m trying to devour a pile of frozen dessert piled high with candy.

Culture — For the college student.

Ultimately, Culture is the best. While the yogurt quality is inconsistent, it is typically very good. Culture offers a variety of flavors — right between Moberry and U-Swirl — that change frequently and their topping selection is satisfactory, though the selection still doesn’t equal U-Swirl’s.

The shop as a whole is open and chic, but warm and friendly at the same time. Its colorfully eclectic design is energetic and inviting — certainly occupying the role of “west-coast enclave.” The staff is personable and eager to interact with you.

Providing water to customers seemed like an afterthought and a non-priority at Culture. A stylish gold faucet is available, but unless you’re shameless enough to shove your face directly under it, you’ll be forced to use the small, shot-sized Dixie cups provided.

Another issue is the recently-adopted $5 credit limit, which essentially forces the patron to either walk away from their purchase or combine their purchase with friends’. However, Culture has a prime location on College Street (between 10th and 11th Ave.) and is open late — until midnight, seven days a week.

While I find Culture to be the best overall, each froyo shop serves a different purpose. Culture is certainly great for studying and staying a while. U-Swirl is best for families or a quick stop. Moberry is available as a contingency plan in case Culture and U-Swirl are hit by meteorites.