Yogurt adds new flavor to Chelsea

By KATIE HURST/ Staff Writer

CHELSEA — After Miranda Carter took her daughter to a popular self-serve yogurt business in Birmingham, she had a brilliant idea. Why not bring a similar business to Chelsea, and open it inside the restaurant she already owns? This is how the new Yogurt Your Way in Chelsea began.

Carter is the owner of Johnny Ray’s BBQ off Hwy 280. When the liquor store next to Johnny’s Rays went out of business, Carter saw an opportunity. After buying the space to expand seating in her restaurant, she noticed there was enough space to add some yogurt machines, also.

Carter said she didn’t tell anyone about Yogurt Your Way until it was open. While she was installing the machines, she hung a tarp over that area of the restaurant.

“Curious customers would try to peek behind the tarp,” she said. “The secrecy created a buzz among the customers. I had no idea that it would be as popular as it has been.”

Yogurt Your Way officially opened in the beginning of September. The yogurt store consists of a wall of yogurt machines inside Johnny Ray’s and a wall and counter space for the topping bar, which features 30 different colorful options.

Customers serve themselves the yogurt and toppings of their choice and pay for their treat at the cash register where it is weighed and priced by the ounce.

Carter said the best thing about her new business is there was hardly any cost to her. She bought the yogurt machines and supplies, but has not had to hire additional employees or pay any additional bills.

She said the yogurt and barbeque being side by side has benefited both businesses.

“People come in to get yogurt and they’ll get some Johnny Ray’s to go,” Carter said. “Or they come in to eat at Johnny Ray’s and get yogurt for desert.”

Carter said they rotate the yogurt flavors and toppings every two weeks to please everyone’s palate. Many of the flavors are unique, she said, including German chocolate cake, pink lemonade, bubblegum and holiday special pumpkin spice. Cookies and cream is the one flavor that remains constant at Yogurt Your Way. Carter said it’s their most popular flavor.

The new business has already become a popular hang out in the community, Carter said. Their busiest day so far was the Friday afternoon after local students received their report cards from school. High school students have enjoyed hanging out after football games, too, she said.

To keep her customers informed on the newest flavors and toppings, Carter started a Yogurt Your Way Facebook page, which is updated often.  For more information on Yogurt Your Way or to check current flavors, call 678-8484