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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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In Dining Commentary

Berry Me won this challenge, garnering four of six votes. (PHOTO: Andy Tarnoff )

In Dining Commentary

Berry Me, on Brady Street, opened in July 2011. (PHOTO: Andy Tarnoff )

In Dining Commentary

There's no denying that Berry Me (pictured) and Yo Factory both have an embarassment of sweet riches. (PHOTO: Andy Tarnoff )

In Dining Commentary

Yo Factory, like Berry Me, charges 45 cents per ounce of frozen yogurt and topings. (PHOTO: Andy Tarnoff )

In Dining Commentary

It's almost hard to tell the yogurts apart. (PHOTO: Andy Tarnoff )

Take the Milwaukee Challenge: Berry Me vs. Yo Factory frozen yogurt


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There has been an explosion of frozen yogurt shops in the Milwaukee over the past year. While they offer different experiences in terms of atmosphere, in general, they tend to dish up similar flavors and toppings by the ounce.

For our first froyo challenge, we focused on two East Side places: Yo Factory, 2203 N. Farwell Ave., and Berry Me, 1320 E. Brady St., each of which charges 45 cents an ounce. (Future rounds will look to suburban shops.)

The OnMilwaukee.com tasters were split in their picks, but Berry Me was the clear winner, garnering four of six votes for the victory.

Colleen Jurkiewicz
Editorial intern
Pick: Berry Me

My vote goes to Berry Me. The variety and quality in toppings and flavors was great, and the atmosphere was open and relaxing. Yo Factory had a cool and edgy vibe, but it works better as a coffee shop or smoothie place. I recommend the cake batter at Berry Me – makes a great base for all their delicious toppings!

Renee Lorenz
Staff writer
Pick: Berry Me

Berry Me and Yo Factory brought a lot of the same things to the table, which makes it kind of hard to pick a winner. The vibe was definitely different, though – Berry Me had an open, retro thing going on while Yo Factory was cozier and had a more laid-back vibe. I think the yogurt selection was slightly better at Berry Me because it wasn't so heavy on the fruit flavors, but the toppings are what put it over the top. There wasn't anything too unique (in terms of "out there" choices I think Yo Factory has a slight edge), but they were much better at Berry Me. The fruit was fresher and none of the dry toppings had that crunched up, "bottom of the bag" look. If you're going to have a place with options it's priority one to make them all look like good ones, and Berry Me nailed it.

Jim Owczarski
Staff writer
Pick: Berry Me

This was an interesting comparison, as Berry Me had more of a ice cream shop feel while Yo Factory had a coffee house vibe. In terms of ambiance, Yo Factory was it, but this challenge was about the frozen yogurt. Berry Me had a couple more adventurous flavors and the majority were either non-fat, sugar-free or non-dairy options. The yogurt was smooth and its consistency and flavor held throughout the spoonful and the cupful. It didn't melt too quickly. I tried a sugar-free option and while flavor did last, I would recommend getting a topping or two to accentuate it. Yo Factory had a wider array of toppings, from cereal to boba to shredded coconut, but the Berry Me yogurt was tops for me.

Molly Snyder
Associate editor
Pick: Yo Factory

This was a tough call for me. There are a few aspects of my Berry Me froyo that were very good, particularly the freshness of the raspberries that I put atop my fat-free pistachio yogurt. (I also added chocolate jimmies). The other fruits looked very fresh, too. However, I find the Berry Me space too bright and too large. I much prefer the cozy, coffee shop feel of Yo Factory, and since my froyo was equally as satisfying – I had low-fat berry topped with kiwi and Fruity Pebbles cereal – I am more likely to return because of the comfortable, more appealing atmosphere. I did find the music to be a tad too loud at both places. Not that it was hindering conversation, because we were all too busy devouring our froyo to chat anyway.

Bobby Tanzilo
Managing editor
Pick: Yo Factory

I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the low-fat cake batter, which I tried at both places – and which is my go-to flavor at Yo Mama in Tosa. The similarities in the offerings at froyo places – and the cups and spoons, etc. – makes me think there's a single distributor that supplies all of them. The toppings selections were also quite similar. So, as a tie-breaker I'm forced to consider the vibe and I prefer the warmer, cozier feel of Yo Factory over the more stark, empty atmosphere at Berry Me.

Andy Tarnoff
Publisher
Pick: Berry Me

I must admit, I'm late the game on this "froyo" (or as I prefer to call it, "frogurt") craze. The last time I got excited for frozen yogurt was probably in the late '80s, but after today, I'm a little excited again. I liked parts of both places we tried, and my final decision took some thought. Berry Me reminded me of a Jamba Juice, and was what I expected it to be. While the toppings were a little less creative than Yo Factory's, they tasted notably fresher. Here I went with the "low fat" cake batter and a mix of fresh berries, kiwis, candy and Japanese strawberry gummies.

In retrospect, I probably mixed the wrong flavors. I liked Yo Factory's "coffee shop" vibe more, but it was more crowded and tight. For the same price (my dishes came in around $3), Yo Factory had slightly more interesting toppings, like the tapioca balls you find in bubble tea, as well as watermelon cubes. Here I picked a mix of orange and blueberry yogurt, topped with graham cracker crust. While the yogurts themselves tasted about the same, I did a better job selecting more complementing flavors, but the fruit didn't taste quite as fresh (and I found a short, curly black hair in my yogurt at the last bite). All told, my pick is Berry Me.

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