Drive-By Soft-Serve at Yumi Yogurt in Redwood City, California
Before Pinkberry and Red Mango appeared on every corner, there was Yumi Yogurt--an adorably dated relic of fro-yo v 1.0 in Redwood City, California. This little yogurt hut has sat beside El Camino Real for the last 25 years, and in those decades, it's earned something of a cult following.
Portions are enormous; a "small" may be a squat, shallow dish, but it's only the foundation for a precarious tower of yogurt. ("The Stanford sports teams come in--and the boys can't even finish a medium!" says the owner proudly.) Flavors rotate daily, and it's the sweeter, creamier ones, like gingerbread and pumpkin pie, that get the most attention. While Yumi recently added a "tart yogurt" flavor, an inevitable concession to the times, it can't quite compare to the soft-serve classics--a darkly sweet dulce de leche, creamy, fresh-tasting vanilla, or smooth peanut butter with tiny flecks of nuts.
This is not twenty-first century frozen yogurt: no array of fresh fruit, no promises of probiotic cultures, no techno music or space-age decor. Bright and friendly, peddling buckets of soft-serve for just a few bucks, Yumi Yogurt looks like it fell straight out of 1985--in the best of ways. So many American towns have diners that commemorate the 1950s with milkshakes and burgers and jukeboxes in the corner. If we ever decide to pay equal respect to the '80s, there would be no better way than with little Yumi Yogurt clones across the land.
947 El Camino Real, Redwood City CA 94063 (map)