Most of us indulge our sweet tooth by eating a cookie or enjoying a piece of cake. Naomi Dorfman opened , a frozen yogurt store and candy bar, to satisfy hers.
“For several years now, I have wanted to do something candy or ice cream related,” explains Dorfman. “This is such a great concept: the opportunity to let people make their own thing, control their portions. I think frozen yogurt is a great alternative to ice cream.”
An interior designer by trade, Dorfman had no experience in the food industry, save “eating and enjoying food.” But she knew what she liked, and she liked the emerging self-serve frozen yogurt concept she’d seen in New York and California.
She began scouting locations and talking to other merchants in Newton soon after her move here in May 2010, but it wasn’t until the Beauty Connection on Beacon Street went out of business this past summer that she knew she had found her spot.
SweetTart opened on September 10, 2011 – 9/10/11, a memorable date says Dorfman.
The concept is nothing short of brilliant: patrons pay by the ounce for their frozen yogurt and toppings and, with 10 rotating flavors of yogurt and over 90 toppings, the combination possibilities are nearly limitless.
When asked about trends she’s seen in the fledgling business’s first weeks, Dorfman expresses some surprise.
“The types of combos depend on age,” she muses. “Younger people- more toppings, of course. We get some really strange combinations. But strawberries are huge. Sour watermelon is too, which I never would have known.”
Asked about her own favorites, Dorfman cites the “plain” or “tart” flavor topped with either jimmies or, believe it or not, Fruity Pebbles. “It depends on my mood,” she laughs.
Already Dorfman is making adjustments and plans for SweetTart’s future. The Thin Mint flavor, named after the popular Girl Scout cookie, “flew out the door” so she will be keeping that in more regular rotation. She will be adding in cones and offering hot fudge as the weather cools down. Gift cards and “frequent flyer cards” will also be forthcoming.
Dorfman soon plans to begin hosting birthday parties at SweetTart. Patrons will be able to bring in their guests, get pizza from Bill’s next door, enjoy their customized frozen yogurt treats and engage in some sort of candy-related craft.
The bright, clean, open space is the perfect venue for this sort of festive occasion. The walls are decorated with lively graphics of fruits (many of which are offered in the cooled section of toppings); a New Zealand artist whom Dorfman commissioned solely via the Internet created these enticing images. The walls are painted yellow and white, and the green and pink accents on the counters and chairs lend a Willy Wonka-esque feel to SweetTart.
The one thing that still needs work, according to Dorfman, is the bare yellow wall that faces the counter and weigh station. That, combined with the high ceilings and tile floor (more easily held to Dorfman’s missive to her employees that everything be “super clean, all the time”), can make the space echo a bit more than she’d like. She’s investigating ways of using the wall as a means of soundproofing while still upholding the aesthetic her decorating background demands.
“We just wanted it to be fun,” Dorfman states. “We didn’t want people to just come in and be handed their ice cream cone. It should be fun all around.”