Fat-free yogurt castles in clouds
Brian Nguyen was born in Vietnam, but he calls Park City home. "I love it here," he said. "The community is really supportive." Nguyen has lived in Park City since 1993 and owns Solar Nails and Spa in Prospector Square.
Nguyen said he witnessed the kindness of residents in the mountain town after he lost his family in a car accident. "They held fundraisers to help me pay the medical bills," he said.
Nguyen said he is still a family man. He and his brother opened a self-serve yogurt shop in Kimball Junction in April. World Yogurt offers 12 different flavors and a rotating menu that includes classics such as chocolate and vanilla as well as more daring choices. The store rotates flavors once a week.
The "Leechee" derives its name, and its flavor, from a tropical fruit tree native to Northern China. The tree produces small pink fruit in bunches, similar to grapes, and the yogurt has the color and texture to match.
Customers can choose among 30 different toppings. Dried fruit, coconut palm, seeds, mango, jelly, rainbow sprinkles and a variety of nuts decorate cumulus swirls of yogurt.
Some customers say the yogurt is lighter and less fattening than ice cream.
Nguyen posted the nutrition facts in the restaurant to prove it. A large serving of frozen yogurt costs $3 and a few hundred calories. Nguyen plans to offer sugar-free options in the next few weeks. "People in Park City are very strict," he said
Customers dish their own yogurt at bar and weigh cups at the register. They can sample flavors in small paper cups before making a selection.
Nguyen opened his first World Yogurt two-and-a-half years ago in San Diego. "The line is out the door," he said. "It wraps all the way around. But Utah is about five years behind California."
He said the off-season makes Park City a difficult market to get a new enterprise off the ground, even something as delectable as dessert. "It’s not easy to start a business here," he said. "You’ve got to build a good reputation."
Part of building a good reputation, Nguyen said, is to keep the parlor clean and prices low. An ounce of frozen yogurt costs 49 cents. The store is spotless with chairs neatly tucked under tables, each of which has a small centerpiece of yellow flower.
Nguyen has designed the shop to be family friendly. It has bean bag chair and a table of toys for children. The back of the shop has a playroom with chalkboards.
"It’s affordable for the kids who want to come in," Nguyen said. "It’s all self-serve so you don’t have to tip a waitress."
The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the summer.
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.