Back in the '90s, frozen yogurt was all the rage.

For a few years, yogurt shops seemed to be on every corner. Everyone from high school kids to Jerry Seinfeld (who was then also all the rage) went wild over its low-fat creamy goodness.


But then the fervor died down.

One of the industry's biggest players, TCBY, has been in business for over 30 years. At the height of the '90s boom, TCBY boasted a portfolio of over 3,000 shops in the United States.


As the market shrank, shops closed. Though TCBY maintained a presence nationwide, only about 600 shops weathered the frozen-yogurt downturn.

Two decades later, frozen yogurt is a big deal again. According to the market research firm NPD Group, in the fall of 2011 there were 4,765 frozen-yogurt stores in the U.S. — 31 percent more than were open five years earlier.

Today, frozen-yogurt shops look a little different from the way they did during the '90s. Free Wi-Fi and comfortable seating draw customers, especially when the weather's just too hot for coffee.

Low-fat or no-fat yogurt isn't enough anymore — the new purveyors promote gluten-free varieties, healthful toppings, probiotics, and live and active cultures.

The frozen yogurt of the 21st century certainly tastes different. Tangy flavors and those made with Greek yogurt sit alongside traditional sweet options.

Mandy Higgs, a Baltimore mom and regular customer at Towson's Tutti Frutti, likes the new frozen yogurt. "I love the tangy flavors," she says. "They're not overly sugary — just sweet enough to taste like dessert. I'm also a huge fan of the healthy toppings, like mango, blueberries and granola."

Perhaps the most noticeable change: These days, you serve yourself.

Numerous self-serve shops, including national franchises like Menchie's and Yogi Castle, have opened in the Baltimore area over the past few years. At these locations, customers pour their own yogurt, add toppings themselves, then pay by the ounce. Prices range from about 40 cents to more than 50 cents per ounce.

TCBY began opening self-serve locations in 2010, including a shop in Belvedere Square. "Consumers were beginning to demand more control over what they eat," says Greg Allison, senior director of global brands and innovation for TCBY.

For Higgs, self-service means that she, her husband, Oliver, and their 3-year old son, Graham, can each choose their own flavors and toppings without being wasteful. "We each get our own bowl," she says, "and can get exactly the amount of yogurt we want."

With 70 new locations opened, and another 100 scheduled to start up over the next year, TCBY is betting on the self-serve model. According to Allison, consumers want "the added convenience that comes from assortment and choice."

So grab a spoon and dig in with this guide to Baltimore-area frozen yogurt shops:

Cup Love

2928 O'Donnell St., Baltimore, 443-627-8955, http://www.cup-love.com

Cup Love's sophisticated selection includes Greek yogurt-inspired flavors alongside cupcakes in a cool urban space on Canton Square.

Don't miss: Red velvet cupcake crumbles

Options: Eight flavors and more than 30 toppings

Prices: 53 cents per ounce

Hours: 1 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 1 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday


1905 Towne Center Blvd, No. 130, Annapolis, 410-224-7599; 4135 Mountain Road, Pasadena, 443-305-2590; http://www.menchies.com

Oversized chalkboards, hula hoops and bouncy music set the scene at Menchie's. It's a fun and friendly spot for a yogurt break — or for a yogurt-themed party.

Don't miss: Waffle bowls filled with peanut butter gold yogurt and topped with s'mores crunch

Options: 14 flavors, 40 toppings

Prices: 44 cents per ounce

Hours: Vary by location

Mr. Yogato

732-A S. Broadway, 410-276-1006, http://www.mryogato-fellspoint.com

With chalkboards galore and fun incentives (dress like a hon for 10 percent to 20 percent off), Mr. Yogato is Baltimore's quirky frozen-yogurt godfather. The format is old-school, with yogurt and toppings behind the counter, but the yogurt itself is modern: more tart than sweet.

Don't miss: Seasonally inspired flavors

Options: Four flavors, about 40 toppings

Prices: Prices vary depending on size and toppings; $3 to $8 for yogurt alone, $1 to $3 per topping

Hours: 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday

SoYo Frozen Yogurt

11205 York Road, Cockeysville, 410-527-0928, http://www.soyofrozenyogurt.com

Don't let the suburban location fool you. Inside, SoYo is trendy and urban, with sleek black furniture, deep purple walls and intriguing flavors like white chocolate macadamia nut.

Don't miss: Silky caramel macchiato yogurt

Options: 10 flavors, about 50 toppings

Prices: 51 cents per ounce

Hours: Noon-10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; noon-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

Sweet Frog

852 N. Rolling Road, Catonsville, 410-744-7609; 28 Allegheny Ave., Towson, 410-321-1606; opening soon in Annapolis, Bel Air and Frederick; http://www.sweetfrog.com

Bouncy, fun, and heavily merchandised (pick up a hat or T-shirt during your visit), this chain is friendly, with fun toppings like chocolate "rocks."

Don't miss: Georgia peach yogurt topped with super-ripe mango and kiwi

Options: 12 flavors, about 50 toppings

Prices: 40 cents per ounce

Hours: Vary by location

Sweet Tooth

6720 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie, 410-553-6999, http://www.facebook.com/sweettoothfrozenyogurt

The magic at Sweet Tooth is in the toppings. From chocolate pretzels to green apple jelly, they are interesting and tasty. If the yogurt alone isn't enough to satisfy, check out the bakery case for another sweet snack.

Don't miss: Thin pretzels with a light layer of chocolate

Options: Eight flavors, about 40 toppings.

Prices: 45 cents per ounce

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday to Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday


Multiple locations, including Belvedere Square, Bel Air and Timonium; http://www.tcby.com

TCBY has been around since 1981, but with fun, ever-changing flavors, a wide selection of toppings, and bright, modern spaces, it's just as bubbly and current as the newcomers.

Don't miss: The sweet stuff: brownies, crumbled cookies and marshmallow sauce

Options: 10 flavors, about 40 toppings

Prices: 45 cents per ounce

Hours: Vary by location

The Froyo House


550 Baltimore & Annapolis Boulevard, Severna Park; 410-975-5676; http://www.facebook.com/froyohouse


With music videos on TV and an oversize tree mural gracing the wall, The Froyo House's big, open space is an inviting place to hang out. New featured flavors each month and an extensive selection of toppings make it a pretty sweet spot, too.

Don't miss: Sweet and juicy litchi and the Asian candy "boba" (liquid-filled bubbles)

Options: 16 flavors, about 35 toppings

Prices: 44 cents per ounce

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Tutti Frutti

Multiple locations, including Cockeysville, Columbia, Hanover, Ellicott City, Mount Vernon and Towson; http://www.tfyogurt.com

Tutti Frutti's walls are an education: Posters promote the health benefits of fruit, yogurt, and live and active cultures. But we couldn't stay away from the sweet flavors and toppings, like almond and Nutella yogurts topped with chunks of angel food cake.

Don't miss: Nutella yogurt, flavored with the rich chocolate-hazelnut spread

Options: 12 flavors, about 30 toppings

Prices: 45 cents per ounce

Hours: Vary by location


6053 Falls Road, 410-377-2088

YoG is busy and cute, with bright flower murals covering the walls. The yogurt is low-calorie (22 calories per ounce), but the toppings — nearly whole candy bars, homemade cookie dough — are total decadence.

Don't miss: Salted caramel yogurt topped with a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough

Options: 10 flavors, about 50 toppings

Prices: 42 cents per ounce

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday

Yogi Castle

Multiple locations, including Arundel Mills, Columbia, Ellicott City, Locust Point and Nottingham; http://www.yogicastle.com

Yogi Castle promotes its natural ingredients and live and active cultures. But the health benefits are just a bonus — Yogi Castle's sweet yogurts taste great, too.

Don't miss: Rich, sweet red velvet yogurt

Options: 16 flavors, more than 50 toppings

Prices: 47 cents per ounce

Hours: Vary by location


1860 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville; 410-484-9646; http://www.facebook.com/yogolaada

Yogolaada is clean and friendly and, thanks to doing double-duty as a cereal bar, offers an impressive selection of toppings.

Don't miss: tart and sweet Greek honey yogurt topped with granola

Options: 10 flavors, more than 50 toppings

Prices: 45 cents per ounce

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday


2046 York Road, Timonium; 410-616-9547; http://www.yogoyayogurt.com

On a busy stretch of York Road, Yogoya's sleek modern interior feels like an oasis decorated by the Jetsons. The fruit-heavy flavor selection is refreshing and summery.

Don't miss: sweet, tangy taro yogurt

Options: Eight flavors, about 50 toppings

Prices: 49 cents per ounce

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday


Multiple locations, including Towson Town Center, Waugh Chapel and White Marsh Mall; http://www.yolavie.com

From the beige tile to the bubbling water feature, Yolavie is like a spa — a busy spa that happens to offer a large selection of flavors and toppings.

Don't miss: dark, rich Ghirardelli chocolate sauce on top of sweet praline yogurt

Options: 16 flavors, about 40 toppings

Prices: 49 cents per ounce

Hours: Vary by location