Orange Leaf: Froyo on a Budget

The frozen yogurt (also called froyo or frogurt) phenomenon is sweeping the nation. Offering froyo as a low-fat alternative to ice cream, froyo shops are becoming popular hangout spots in Des Moines and in major cities nationwide. But who doesn’t like frozen yogurt when there is an accompanying topping bar?

West Des Moines, home to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt and Orange Leaf, has jumped on the froyo bandwagon. You can also find frozen yogurt nearby at TCBY Yogurt in Clive, Lemon Tree Frozen Yogurt in Ankeny and Yo2Go in Urbandale. But with so many options, I never quite knew where to go. So with the help of my roommate (a self-proclaimed froyo expert), I set out to find my favorite frozen yogurt spot.

After visiting Menchie’s (4825 EP True Pkwy) and Orange Leaf (6630 Mills Civic Parkway), I decided that I much prefer Orange Leaf.

For me, Menchie’s was alarmingly cutesy; there was a wall mural featuring an entire cast of anthropomorphic food. It may be a better place to go with children, but I went with a few friends and felt awkwardly old sitting next to the marshmallow man. It is the kind of place where they force their employees to tell customers to “have a smiley day.”

Orange Leaf is a much more mature establishment, despite the bright orange, green and white color scheme, and the price is comparable. Both chains price their product by weight, so cost is really up to the customer. I tend to spend somewhere between $3.50 and $5 depending on how much I decide to load on top. Today, I chose the orange flavor with strawberries, raspberries and white chocolate chips; it cost $4.44. (I blame the fruit.)

Orange Leaf currently offers chocolate, vanilla, pineapple, chocolate cheesecake, mango, pomegranate, coconut, peanut butter, white chocolate strawberry, caramel, coffee, snicker doodle, cookies and cream, brownie batter and wedding cake flavors of frozen yogurt, but those flavors are rotated regularly. The rest of their flavors can be found online. Possible toppings include sour gummy worms, swedish fish, chocolate chips, Oreos, peaches, pecans, Fruity Pebbles, marshmallows, graham crackers and a whole bunch of other terribly delicious things.

As an ice cream enthusiast, I give frozen yogurt my stamp of approval, while I still would not rank it higher than ice cream, it is delicious, healthy, and because it is based on weight, cheap. Orange Leaf would be a great spot for a $10 date or a maybe just a less-than-$5 snack.

Give one of Des Moines’ many other froyo locations a test drive and let me know what you think. I’m always up for a frozen snack.

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