“We’ve survived the first day of school,” said Yogurt Jungle owner Lori Abreu as she swept up some dropped yogurt toppings that slipped away from the mountainous piles of yogurt sold to students in search of creamy comfort following their return to the classroom. “Let’s do it again tomorrow.”
Yogurt Jungle is more than a dessert shop – it’s an experience. The cheerful Top 40 tunes pumped outside invite you into a lush, green landscape where monkeys, tigers and exotic birds wait to greet you. The jungle murals transport you to a fun and friendly jungle, but despite the tropical locale, the yogurt never melts, making it the ideal place to chill out when temperatures soar.
“The kids love coming inside and looking at the jungle murals we have on the walls,” Abreu said. “It’s fun to hear them say, ‘Look, Mom, there’s an elephant’ or ‘look at the monkey.’ They really get into it and have a lot of fun when they come here, and that’s what I hoped to accomplish.”
While the little kids love the décor, the “big kids” – Abreu’s term for yogurt fanatics from Liberty High School, located a block away – enjoy the benefits of Yogurt Jungle’s free Wi-Fi as well as after-hours specials when the shop stays open later on dance nights. This Friday, July 30, Liberty students who bring their back-to-school dance ticket will receive $1 off on the yogurt of their choice. Arbeu plans to offer similar deals throughout the year, using her business prowess to entice new customers.
Abreu, who is also a well-known East County realtor, decided to switch gears and get into the yogurt business, an area she deems “recession proof,” when the housing market started to take a dive two years ago. While she plans to remain a full-time realtor, Yogurt Jungle is Abreu’s oasis away from an office where she’s constantly dealing with foreclosures, squatters and the other downsides of the current market.
“This is my escape,” Abreu said, “but by no means a vacation. I’m taking this business venture very seriously. I spent a lot of time on the business plan and my vision for this place, and I have every intention of making it a successful business. But it’s really nice to come here because yogurt makes everyone happy. What’s not to like about yogurt? People are always smiling when they come here, and I’m so glad that a visit to Yogurt Jungle can brighten someone’s day.”
Yogurt Jungle offers eight flavors, such as New York Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cake and Pomegranate Raspberry Sorbet, as well as dozens of fruit, candy, nut and cereal toppings. But what makes the Jungle stand out from its competitors is the option to get your yogurt twisted. Rather than merely sit on a mound of yogurt, Yogurt Jungle toppings can be blended with the yogurt to deliver yogurt and toppings in every bite.
Since the possibility for twisted combinations is endless, the Jungle features a menu of twisted combos, such as Chunky Monkey (vanilla yogurt mixed with fresh bananas and chocolate chunks) or Mr. Edward’s Bad Biscuit (vanilla yogurt swirled with peanut butter, peanut butter cups and hot fudge) in case you can’t decide.
Yogurt Jungle also offers smoothies, yogurt cones and gourmet dipped waffle cones. To find out about the latest flavors and specials, follow Yogurt Jungle on Facebook and Twitter.
Yogurt Jungle, located at 761 Second St. in Brentwood, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 925-420-6822 or visit www.yogurtjungle.net.