By Jill Keppeler firstname.lastname@example.org
Niagara Gazette — It’s a dichotomy.
On one hand, there are flavors such as old-fashioned peanut butter, candy bar smash and sea salt caramel pretzel — and a toppings bar that looks like a candy store exploded. On the other, there’s a lengthy list of health benefits, from live and active cultures to nonfat, non-dairy and sugar- or gluten-free choices (and lots of fresh fruit options in that toppings bar as well).
It’s that very contrast — sweet treat with healthy options — that appealed to White Rabbit Frozen Yogurt co-owner Andy Kandola.
“I love dessert,” he said. “I have the biggest sweet tooth. My girlfriend lived in Canada and she introduced me to it. I like healthy options, and this was a good one, especially with the flavor options.”
The first White Rabbit store, owned by Kandola and his now-wife Alisha Kandola, opened in early June across from Target plaza on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda. It was followed by a store on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo and, by the end of August, will be joined by a Niagara Falls Boulevard location in Niagara Falls, near Target and Tops plaza.
They mark one of the first appearances of a nationwide trend in the Buffalo area. Self-serve froyo spots have been popular in other U.S. locations since about 2007, Kandola said. “I’m just bringing it to this area.”
Kandola, who has a family background in the restaurant business, is a graduate of Niagara Falls High School, has lived in Buffalo and Niagara Falls and now lives in Grand Island. He did research and planned for 2 1/2 years before the grand opening of the first White Rabbit.
And the research continues.
“We try to get customer feedback. We ask customers what they liked about it, what they were looking for,” Kandola said. “Customer service is huge. We really promote customer service from the top down.
White Rabbit in the Town of Tonawanda has 18 flavors at any given time (six of them a mix). During a recent stop, 39 toppings were offered, including fresh fruit, nuts, cookies, many types of candy and more unusual items such as tapioca bubbles.
Flavors that day included original tart, vanilla, dreamy chocolate, sea salt caramel pretzel, mango sorbet, tropical sorbet, birthday cake, candy bar smash and Zeusberries Greek. (The website lists red velvet, wild strawberry, ooey gooey cinnamon bun, banana rama and white chocolate mousse as other possibilities.) Kandola said that White Rabbit will have seasonal options as well. Six toppings were recently added, and more are on the way.
With all the options, froyo is very customizable, he said.
“I eat it almost every day,” said Kandola, whose own favorite flavors are cheesecake and Zeusberries Greek. “It doesn’t get boring.”
Matt Thompson, manager of the Tonawanda store, said business has been going well, and seems to be popular with all ages.
“We already have regulars,” he said, “and we’ve only been here a month.”IF YOU GO • WHAT: White Rabbit Frozen Yogurt • WHERE: 1750 Niagara Falls Blvd., Town of Tonawanda, and 802 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo. A site at 7320 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls, is expected to open later this summer. • FOR MORE INFORMATION: Vist whiterabbitfrozenyogurt.com or call 837-3604 (Tonawanda) or 886-0104 (Elmwood).