However, some don’t realize that a shadow was cast on the Island for more than five months this winter when the original owner shut its doors. Yogurt Island has been a fixture in Oakley for more than 20 years and Jacqueline Benitez and her husband Victor didn’t want to see the Island become nothing more than a memory, so the couple bought the shop, renovated the interior and reopened earlier this month.
“Victor has always wanted to own his own business, but he was never sure what that business would be, so when the opportunity presented itself, we jumped right on it,” said Jacqueline. “Luckily, this has been a pretty easy business to learn. The atmosphere is pretty mellow. I’ve worked in a restaurant before, so this is a much easier pace.”
While the Benitezes are still learning the swing of things, they still keep their day jobs. Victor works maintenance in Stockton while Jacqueline works for a medical office in Walnut Creek. The couple hopes to make the yogurt shop a full-time gig, but plan to wait a while as Yogurt Island is reintroduced to the public. And as summer approaches, it won’t take long before everyone is enjoying a staycation at the Island.
“I want to come back tomorrow,” Michaela Gargalikis said as she savored her vanilla swirl with rainbow sprinkles. “This just feels good after coming from (the East Contra Costa Little League Opening Day ceremonies). This should be a tradition after every baseball game. This place just rocks!”
The smiling faces of children such as Michaela are Victor’s favorite part of the job. While Jacqueline is an avid yogurt fan, Victor is only now discovering the cool creamy concoction. “I don’t know why I never tried it, but I like it now,” Victor said. “I don’t have a favorite yet, but each time we get a new flavor I sample it. So far everything has been good.”
Yogurt Island features five flavors on a daily basis. Customers will always find vanilla and chocolate, but the other three flavors vary. So far the Benitezes have showcased cake batter, cookies and cream, peanut butter, and pomegranate raspberry tart. Jacqueline said there are hundreds of yogurt flavors she can offer her customers, so she welcomes their suggestions.
Visit the Island even if you’re not in the mood for yogurt. Despite the name, there’s more than yogurt on the menu. Other delicious desserts such as shaved ice, sundaes and banana splits are also available. One unique treat at Yogurt Island is the orange freeze, a blend of orange soda and vanilla yogurt that creates a creamsicle-flavored dessert that puts a fresh spin on the root beer float concept.
Victor said the expanded menu sets Yogurt Island apart from other shops that have been springing up around East County: “This isn’t just a yogurt shop. We have a lot of options, and there are plenty of toppings, so you can get something different every time. We also offer full service, just like the old-fashioned yogurt shops used to do, so we have personalized service. It’s (Yogurt Island) been a part of Oakley for many years and we hope it will stay that way.”
Yogurt Island, located at 3100 Main St., Suite 282, in Oakley, is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. For more information, call 925-625-1610.