Before there was Pinkberry and Yogurtland and Red Mango; before frozen yogurt chains were as ubiquitous as Starbucks and pay-by-weight became the going system; before frozen yogurt began to feel less like the mom-and-pop ice creams shops we grew up with and more like any other megaindustry, there was Yogurt Park, founded in Berkeley in 1977 and remaining there ever since (with another, later addition in Walnut Creek). Even as — or, really, despite the fact that — the big chains have continued to multiply, Yogurt Park still feels like something special, a return to simpler times. There's no lychee or fresh fruit in the toppings containers, no neon colors and futuristic plastic furniture, no imperative to mix fifteen flavors into one cup until you just get a rainbow mush: Instead, only six flavors daily, all somehow creamier and thicker than everywhere else, mercifully pronounceable, recorded every morning on Yogurt Park's outgoing phone message by the owner, and served in heaping portions in a plain ol' paper cup. It's frozen yogurt as it once was, and as it was meant to be.
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