If YogiCastle was just another Dupont frozen yogurt store (we’re up to 8 by my count), it wouldn’t merit mentioning on this blog. But YogiCastle has a kosher twist.
The store opened about four weeks ago, and during the first weeks of its operation, its colorful flavor guides bore the OU kosher marker (). OU is the symbol of the New York-based Orthodox Union – the biggest, and one of the most respected, kosher certifying organizations in the country.
Delicious frozen yogurt – great! Kosher – all the better!
But as of yesterday, the OU had been removed from the flavor cards.
According to Grace Jung – YogiCastle’s marketing manager – there had been some confusion over the OU symbol. YogiCastle receives all of its yogurt from a kosher certified organization that uses only kosher ingredients and produces a completely kosher product. Knowing this, YogiCastle thought it would be OK (not circle K) to label its flavors with the OU. They later learned that to use the OU marker, the Orthodox Union would have to certify not just the product, but the store.
Rabbi Sanders – kosher expert and managing Rabbi of the Vaad (the organization that certifies Eli’s, DistriKt Bistro, etc.) – offered a similar explanation. “I think that what the manager meant was that the OU (and every other certification) only certify the mix as it is in the sealed carton from the factory. Once it is open and being served to customers, the OU can’t take responsibility anymore.”
When asked what it would take for a store like YogiCastle to make the leap to kosher certified, Rabbi Sanders offered a brief description that did not seem overly onerous. However, specific details and costs cannot be offered until the Vaad examines the store and its situation.
Will this happen? Will YogiCastle become kosher? Ms. Jung states that the store “is still considering the possibility of kosher certification.”
The kasherization costs as estimated by Rabbi Sanders certainly seem like something YogiCastle can handle, but kosher certification would also require closing for Shabbat, something that YogiCastle will probably not accept (**Correction. Closing on Shabbat might not be necessary. See comments.)
End assessment: YogiCastle offers tasty, self-serve frozen yogurt for a good price, but though it uses kosher yogurt, I wouldn’t bet on it becoming officially kosher any time soon.
Dupont Frozen Yogurt Options:
- Fro-Zen-Yo – 1900 M Street
- Larry’s Ice Cream – 1633 Connecticut Avenue
- Mr. Yogato – 17 and P Street
- Pinkberry – 1213 Connecticut Avenue
- Potbelly – 1635 Connecticut Avenue
- Sweet Green – 1) 1512 Connecticut Avenue, 2) 1471 P Street
- Tasti D-lite – Taking the place of the old Tangy Sweet at 2029 P Street
- YogiCastle – 1630 Connecticut Avenue