With the new quarter upon us, many people are feeling the reality of college responsibility settle in. With less sun, another batch of boring classes and spring break so far off in the distance, it can be tough to stay on top of it all. With an innate need to stay happy despite the odds, the Winter Quarter brings out the super sweet tooth in even the healthiest of eaters. What better way to cure this hankering than frozen yogurt and tasty candy morsels? Though Isla Vista lost its local fro-yo joint in October, the newly managed and remodeled Sweet Alley is back and feeding those sugar cravings even more than before.
New owner Nick Mason has taken on the task of revamping this once mediocre sweet shop into a cool place for students to grab a treat and hang out. Sweet Alley provides WiFi for its customers so you can get a brain freeze while you brainstorm. Even the décor got a makeover. Upon arriving you are greeted by a super friendly and welcoming staff in a chic and fresh atmosphere with repurposed wood from dairy farms lining the walls, nifty bar seating (which Mason boasts he made himself, only adding to the charm of the place) and a hip neon sign displaying the shop’s new logo.
“I dove in headfirst with no idea about how to run a business like this,” Mason explains. With no expertise on how a business like this should run it is quite impressive how well Mason has already transformed this drab dairy dive into the trendy treat destination it has become.
So what can one expect when going to Sweet Alley?
The company is focused on variety. Boasting a myriad of rotating fro-yo and sorbet flavors, it would be impossible to become bored with the many available options. Flavors such as tart, Belgian chocolate, strawberry, honey Greek yogurt, peanut butter, low-calorie fudge and Valencia orange sorbet have already blessed the bowls of Sweet Alley customers, but these aren’t the only flavors you can find at Sweet Alley. New tastes such as café latté, salted caramel, cookies and cream, Dole pineapple, graham cracker, blueberry pomegranate tart and almond will all have their turn on the rotating flavor cycle. The cool and creamy selections have a much more appealing consistency than the late Sweet Alley’s often runny texture. Mason credits the improved mouthfeel to the completely restored fro-yo dispensing machines, which now produce better quality products. In an extra attempt to keep things unique and diverse, the 18 fresh fruit toppings and 12 dry toppings will also be rotated in order to create a plethora of varieties, avoid stagnation and keep things new.
Of course Sweet Alley knows that people get attached to their originals, which is why standards like tart, chocolate and some variation of vanilla (either Greek yogurt or original vanilla) will always be available for those sentimental to tradition. The company hopes to be well-received and asks that customers provide feedback on how they are doing.
“We want to be on top of curating a menu that is well-liked,” Mason stated.
Old and new fro-yo favorites are not all Sweet Alley has to offer. Ice cream-lovers rejoice, because Double Rainbow from San Francisco can be found in Sweet Alley’s freezers. Double Rainbow’s ice cream contains a lower butterfat content than other premium ice creams like McConnell’s, which reduces that annoying layer of film build-up in the mouth. Plus, their salted caramel ice cream snuggles perfectly between two of Sweet Alley’s pretzel, peanut butter or chocolate chip cookies to create the most amazing cookie-wich. If edibles aren’t for you, this sweet spot also has nitrogen-infused coffee and tea on tap that pours like a stout beer. And just for an extra touch of creativity, Mason points out that he is “experimenting with bacon.”
Sweet Alley also plans to immerse itself in the college culture. Fundraising events with several organizations around campus are set to take place in the very near future. There are plenty of promotions going on such as Sweet Alley clothing: purchase one of the items, wear it and receive 10 percent off your purchase. Even more promos and deals are available to those who follow @sweetalleyiv on Instagram. Stop by Isla Vista’s reinvented sweet spot at 955 Embarcadero del Mar. You won’t be disappointed.