Frozen treats, served with flash
Story and photos by Gregg McQueen
Victor Sidberry, co-owner of Inwood’s new VS Berry frozen yogurt shop, was looking to fill a void.
“It seems like all the new businesses in the neighborhood are bars or clubs. We wanted to have someplace that was designed to be kid-friendly,” he remarked.
The recently opened store, located at 4971 Broadway, on the corner of Isham Street, offers frozen yogurt, hot pretzels, smoothies and coffee, served in an atmosphere that’s not only fun and friendly, but stylish.
When customers first enter VS Berry, they’ll quickly realize they’re not in a typical frozen yogurt joint.
The futuristic decor might give one the impression they just stepped onto a spaceship.
Flashing, multicolored lights, glowing countertops and unique pod chairs hung from hooks all serve to catch the eye.
“We definitely put a lot of effort into the concept and look of the store,” said co-owner Salma López. “I was inspired a bit by a nightclub vibe, only making it suitable for kids.”
López, who also owns Inwood’s popular Yummy Thai, said she first had a vision for VS Berry two years ago, when she was struck by the lack of frozen yogurt stores uptown.
She spent a lot of time searching for the ideal site, and once she found it — a spacious, big-windowed corner locale that formerly housed the office of A.N. Shell Realty — things came together quickly for VS Berry.López and Sidberry purchased the site this June, and in just over two months turned it into a fully functioning eatery.
“It seemed like we were working 24 hours a day to bring everything together,” commented Sidberry.
Embedded in the store’s back wall are numerous self-serve machines which dispense a variety of yogurt flavors such as chocolate, cookies and cream, red velvet, peanut butter, raspberry and mango.
The frozen concoctions dazzle the taste buds; they are refreshing, creamy and flavorful yet not overly sweet.
Offerings can be combined, such as melding the chocolate and peanut butter to create a Reese’s-inspired treat.
Customers who desire some extra pizzazz in their cup can head to the toppings bar to add their choice of coconut, chocolate chips, fruit or candies.
One of the store’s highlights — homemade hot pretzels — are available plain, cinnamon-coated or chocolate-filled, and are bursting with warm, rich, buttery flavor.
López said she intends to experiment with different candy fillings inside the pretzels, and will soon make some that are topped with M&M’s.
VS Berry also features a wall of candy bins, with dozens of goodies designed to satisfy pretty much anyone’s sweet tooth.
At the store’s grand opening this past Sat. Sept. 14th, a large crowd of locals crammed inside the store to taste free samples and marvel at the decor.
Kids could visit a face-painting artist or greet VS Berry’s yogurt-cup mascot, Barry.
Inwood resident Carla Basanta brought along her daughters Gianna and Mia, and the family gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the experience.
“We tried them all,” laughed Basanta. “The flavors were awesome.”
“It tastes just like ice cream,” remarked another patron, Jeiko Pujols.
Basanta said she was excited about more than just the food offerings at the store.
“This is good for the neighborhood, having a fun place to bring kids,” she said.
López said that if her store does well, she hopes to open additional sites in upper Manhattan.
VS Berry’s location seems conducive to success, situated right next to the A subway station, several bus stops and a school. But López acknowledged that the food and atmosphere is what will ultimately draw people to the store.
“We think that our concept offers something a bit different to this area,” said López. “It will be our trademark.”
4971 Broadway, at Isham Street
New York, NY 10034
Hours are currently 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.