Walking up to Mochi-Yo, I knew it wasn’t your typical ice cream parlor. Sitting outside under a hip sign reading ‘Mochi-Yo’ were tangerine-toned chairs accompanying crisp white tables. Unique, up-scale stores like Solstice Sunglass Boutique and Natural Body Shop framed Mochi-Yo in the newer section of Town Center.
Stepping inside, I immediately felt stylish. Lime green walls and orange accents gave a retro, welcoming feel. Soft Reggae music was invigorating yet peaceful, high ceilings and natural wood counters gave this yogurt bar an earthy tone; I could tell I liked this place before even stepping up to the counter.
The menu wasn’t very extensive, several smoothie and coffee options and only four flavors of yogurt: original, green tea, and the two flavors of the month, strawberry, and watermelon. There was only one man working there but he was pleasant and efficient as he helped the couple in front of us.
Chatting with the employee, I learned that the original idea of Mochi-Yo stemmed from the fro-yo trend in Korea that co-owner Edward Song saw when visiting his family. Together with partners Kirk Goza and Weston Bergmann, Song opened the one-and-only Mochi-Yo in Town Center, Leawood. This yogurt bar is also loosely modeled after Pink Berry and Red Mango, frozen yogurt hot spots on the East and West coasts.
I tried each of the four flavors, finally settling on the original because it was my favorite. It had a slightly tart taste that didn’t resemble the usual vanilla flavoring you find with ice cream or frozen yogurt. The texture was smooth and creamy, thicker than frozen yogurt and a little more on the yogurt side.
The green tea yogurt didn’t have a very distinguished tea flavor but it was still my second favorite due to its undertone of sweetness. I was expecting the green tea to taste like green tea ice cream I have had before which left a bad after taste, but this green tea yogurt was a pleasant surprise. The watermelon didn’t taste as natural as I expected but it was refreshing and left a lingering sense of summer on my tongue. The only flavor I was truly disappointed in was the strawberry. I was expecting a sweet sample of one of my favorite fruits but instead got a mouthful of thick strawberry Yoplait yogurt. Not that Yoplait isn’t good, but it’s not what I would consider treat worthy; it’s more the kind of snack I eat when trying to be healthy.
For toppings, they had anything from fresh fruits such as mango or blueberries to classics like gummi bears and chocolate chips to unique mochi-balls. Mochi balls are a sweet topping made with rice cakes, which come in original, green tea, and strawberry flavor. I was a little leery to try them but went out on a limb. I was not disappointed. Although the strawberry mochi balls didn’t have a very strong flavor, they were still an interesting treat and fun to eat. They are very much like square gummi bears only less tough and coated with a thin layer of sugar. They’re definitely a must-try.
Mochi-Yo is a fun and unique experience. I can easily see stylish couples in their late 20s sharing a cozy cup of yogurt or high school friends stopping for a snack run after a late night soccer game. It’s modern enough to be sophisticated, yet still delicious enough to interest the ice cream crowd.
Next time you’re craving a frozen treat, skip the Qt and TCBY runs in favor of a stop at Mochi-Yo, the one of a kind yogurt-bar.