Have you ever found a place you love so much that you don’t want to tell anyone else about it? My heart is POUNDING as I write this, because I’m about to reveal my favorite dessert shop on the planet. I want to keep it my little secret so I can have it all to myself, but I know that’s selfish. This place deserves all the love in the world, so I have to share it.
I discovered Yoga-urt last April while perusing Instagram, and I was immediately intrigued. Gluten-free, vegan soft serve that actually looked thick and creamy? It seemed too good to be true. I’ve tried a ton of vegan ice cream/fro-yo/soft serve in my life, but it’s difficult to find something that truly compares in texture to real soft serve.
As soon as I had my first bite of Yoga-urt, I was hooked. This is the best soft serve / ice cream-ish dessert I’ve ever had. It really is thick, creamy, flavorful, smooth, and heavenly. I don’t really know what else to say besides…YOU NEED THIS IN YOUR LIFE! Yoga-urt has quickly become my place. And it’s not just because it tastes so divine.
First of all, let’s talk location. The shop is located on a cute little street in Glendale, far from busy L.A. life. Thank goodness because otherwise it would constantly be PACKED. My favorite part of the shop is the backdoor patio. I love to sit on the back patio amidst the plants, hanging fairy lights, and adorable little fountain. It’s very inviting, calming, and romantic. The perfect nighttime getaway.
As you know, I’m very picky about ingredients. Very high standards. Not only is Yoga-urt gluten-free and vegan, it’s also soy-free and kosher. It’s made from scratch right there on site from an almond cashew base, and they even add four probiotic strains to the mix! So basically you’re supporting your digestive and immune health while eating dessert. Does it get any better than that? The ingredients used to make the soft serve are organic and natural – no artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives. Even the bowls, spoons, and napkins are 100% biodegradable. Impressed yet?
Aaaand one of the other highlights of Yoga-urt? They have gluten-free & vegan cones, made right in the shop! And these cones…they’re the real deal. I’ve never liked ice cream cones before, but the cones from Yoga-urt have changed my opinion forever. None of that cardboard-tasting gluten-free cone business.
They rotate different flavors throughout the month and always have six flavors at a time. All of the flavors are amazing. They’re always swirling different combinations, and they constantly update their Instagram account with the daily flavors and swirls. You can also grab a pint of your favorite flavor if you want to treat yourself at home!
So what are the flavors?! Chocolate Bliss, Vanilla Harmony, Strawberry Serenity, Salted Caramel Zen, Peanut Butter Prana, Tantric Tart, Green Tea Tranquility, Calming Coconut Chai, Ganesha’s Sweet Greens, and the anniversary flavor… Radiant Golden Rose! I’m obsessed with all of them, but my personal favorites are Salted Caramel Zen and Strawberry Serenity. I also LOVE Ganesha’s Sweet Greens, which has no added sugar!
Another main reason I adore Yoga-urt is because they have a killer toppings bar. They have strawberries, bananas, blueberries, mango, shredded coconut, dark chocolate chips, shredded chocolate, cacao nibs, graham crackers, vegan gummy bears, dried mulberries, waffle cone chips, ginger turmeric granola, sprinkles, mochi, sliced almonds, and (my personal favorite) CHARLIE’S BROWNIE BITES. They also have strawberry, chocolate, and caramel sauces that are made right there in-house. The best part is that pretty much everything is gluten-free and vegan, so I can easily go crazy with the toppings.
They also have a few other fabulous things on the menu, including a BANANA SPLIT. The banana split is made up of three Yoga-urt flavors of your choice and topped with chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, sliced almonds, and coco whip. (In between two huge banana slices, of course.) Not trying to be dramatic, but this banana split changed my life. I think it might be the best thing I’ve ever had….
If you’re not in the mood for soft serve, Yoga-urt also serves a number of delicious smoothies. Some of my faves are Hanuman’s Chocolate, Banana, and Peanut Butter smoothie and Powerful Protein. NOM. They also serve coffee, organic teas, affogatos, and non-dairy hot chocolate (which I will definitely be having all holiday season long)!
ALSO, if you’re interested in meditation (which you should be), there are mediation classes from 7-8 P.M. every Monday night on the back patio of Yoga-urt. How cool is that?!
Another thing I love about Yoga-urt is the staff. I don’t know all of them personally, but I feel like I do. Everyone who works there is always happy, welcoming, and spreading lots of good vibes. It truly is a community. The founder, Melissa Schulman, radiates positivity and kindness. I was lucky enough to snag an interview with her to learn a little bit more about her journey with Yoga-urt…ENJOY!
What inspired you to open up Yoga-Urt?
I was fortunate to take a year off from my career after working at the same design company for 11 years. I immersed myself in everything yoga during that year including a yoga teacher training, and was at lunch with my cousin one day when he decided to tease me about being a yoga teacher. He went off on a riff about yogurt being created before yoga. I said multiple times that he was wrong, but every time, he would come back with a silly reason why he was right – and I was wrong. Forty-five minutes later, my cousin topped off his jokes by saying, “Why don’t you teach yoga and serve yogurt and call it ‘Yoga-urt’?” We laughed and then went on our merry ways.
However, I could not forget “Yoga-urt”. Something about it captivated me, and I actually started to think about what a “Yoga-urt” place could be. I started researching the yoga and yogurt industries online and became more excited and somewhat obsessed!
My goal was to create a community space for like-minded people to hang out while eating a healthy treat they could feel good about. I originally wanted it to be a yoga studio combined with an organic frozen yogurt store, and hope to have the chance to still do that one day.
As for going with an all vegan store, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to offer some vegan options that weren’t made with soy, weren’t sorbets, and tasted delicious. So as soon as I saved enough money, I hired a team to create the non-dairy product. Once created, it was so good that I decided to have Yoga-urt be all vegan.
What are the most popular flavors?
We sell the most of Chocolate Bliss and Strawberry Serenity, but all of our flavors seem to be pretty popular. I’m scared to take out Peanut Butter Prana, Salted Caramel Zen, or Ganesha’s Sweet Greens as I know many people love those flavors too. And people are already missing Radiant Golden Rose.
Can you tell me about the role that yoga has played in your life? How long have you been practicing?
Yoga has changed my life in so many amazing ways. I started practicing yoga in 2009 due to chronic neck and back pain at the urging of my chiropractor. I could barely move in the beginning. I had no idea what I was doing, but I kept going, twice a week every week. Over time, not only did yoga relieve my pain but also brought me a stronger body, increased my confidence, and introduced me to a community of like-minded people. It also really like the spiritual aspect of it and learned a lot of tools that have helped me in my Yoga-urt journey. I fell in love with yoga and it has helped me in every aspect of my life.
I know you offer weekly meditation classes on your back patio. Can you tell me a bit about your experience with meditation and how the idea to have weekly classes at the shop came to be?
Most of my meditation these days is through yoga but about 6-7 years ago, I took these same meditation classes that we offer at Yoga-urt. At the time, I was going through a very tough time at the job I had and I was struggling with how to deal with it. I learned a lot from these meditation classes because they are partly a discussion about how to deal with challenges through the Buddhist perspective. Taking the time to connect with myself and get a different perspective was very uplifting and gave me tools to deal with unpleasant situations when they came up, very similar to yoga.
You guys have an amazing wall outside of Yoga-Urt filled with notes from customers, cute artwork, and great quotes. It’s one of my favorite things about the shop itself! Whose idea was that?! How often do you guys clean it off and “restart”? Is there anything that stands out as one of your favorite things you’ve ever seen written on the wall?
I love the front entrance walls too! The quote wall and chalk wall are very personal to me and a lot of thought went into them. I always wanted to have a community chalk wall where we could inspire each other and I knew I wanted to incorporate some inspirational quotes as they helped me on my Yoga-urt journey. I didn’t want them to be corny, but I did want them to be meaningful.
I want people to be inspired when they come to Yoga-urt and know that they can do anything that they set their mind to.
As for the chalk wall, I have so many favorites that it is hard to choose, but overall, my favorite was the very first wall when we opened. People wrote such kind things in support of us and it surprised and touched me so much. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
We generally “restart” the wall once a month, but I’m letting our Anniversary one go a little longer.
What has been the most rewarding thing about opening up Yoga-Urt?
The most rewarding thing is seeing customer’s reactions to eating Yoga-urt. I LOVE when they come in for the first time and try the flavors. Their reactions are priceless and make me so happy. I’ve also loved meeting so many people – our regulars, new people, the Glendale community, and seeing how positively people are responding to our store.
Any exciting future plans for the shop? (New flavors?!)
We are always thinking about how best to serve our customers. Some exciting things coming up are another collaboration with Charlie from Charlie’s Brownies (will announce soon) and I hope to introduce 1 – 2 more flavors this year, but can’t confirm that yet.
What’s YOUR go-to Yoga-Urt order?!
Depending on my mood, I usually get either a mini Chocolate Bliss with mochi or Ganesha’s Sweet Greens with strawberries, mango, and blueberries. Very different but both so delicious!
Anyone else obsessed with Yoga-urt?! I love trying new flavor combos, so tell me your fave! XO