Froyo to Melt For
Irvington’s Brrzaar likely tops your town's frozen-yogurt stop
Brrzaar has the froyo competition licked.
Photo courtesy of Brrzaar
Almost every Westchester town has a self-serve frozen yogurt place, and much of the product is made from powdered mixes (it’s cheaper) and contains artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup, and a litany of other chemical baddies. Also, the décor in the majority of these shops tends to lack warmth and be a bit sterile (i.e. heavy on the neon lights). So Hastings-on-Hudson residents Michelle DeForest Leddy and Brian Leddy knew there was room for improvement in terms of product and experience.
For the yogurt and toppings, the Leddys' rule was simple: Is it something they would feed their family? “I really care about what I eat, and have a gluten intolerance,” says Michelle. “I know a lot of people struggle with food allergies and intolerances, but also want to indulge once in a while.”
Photo by John Bruno Turiano
Enter Brrzaar, a 1,100-square-foot, 20-seat café located in what was the Irvington station ticket office from 1889 to 1957, and then in turn an art gallery, lumber-company office, and architectural firm. Adjacent to the hipped roof building of rusticated stones is a garden with three large picnic tables that seat eight to 10 each.
The Leddys serve Pasadena, CA-based Cloud Top yogurt, a premium organic frozen yogurt that’s also certified kosher and free of the aforementioned chemical ingredients, plus no hormones, GMOs, or gluten. “My rule of thumb is the less ingredients the better,” says Michelle. “The fact Cloud Top doesn’t contain HFCS [high fructose corn syrup], you can taste the difference.”
There are eight rotating flavors daily (with two to three vegan offerings); most popular are vanilla, chocolate, salty caramel, and coffee. Other flavors of note include vegan matcha green tea, dairy-free chocolate cream pie, and vegan coconut.
The toppings bar is an impressive sight with about 50 options, including house-made cookie dough balls, roasted chestnuts, organic coconut flakes, and vegan vanilla marshmallows.
Photo By John Bruno Turiano
They also serve Wallaby fresh yogurt, a creamy, Greek-style, low-fat organic product made in the Napa Valley; Balthazar Bakery scones and croissants; Yonkers-roasted coffee from Double Barrel, and a cold-brew blend of coffee and chicory shipped from New Orleans.
The couple did some of the interior renovation, including stripping off about eight layers of paint, scraping down, sanding, re-caulking, and then white-washing. They also restored four doors by stripping (painted every color of the rainbow at some point) and staining them. An original curved bench was left in place and made, along with curved windows, the centerpiece of the room.
“Growing up in New Orleans, I’d go to a famous bakery with my grandmother,” Michelle recalls. “I look back and still feel the love and magic. That was something I wanted to recreate [at Brrzaar], specifically in the look and feel, but also with the love put into what we serve and how we treat our customers.”
7 N Astor St, Irvington
(914) 274-8118; www.brrzaar.com