Waterloo will soon welcome another business to its ranks, with its offerings being something the town has never seen.
Scheduled to open the first week of February, Yo-Toppings will offer customers self-serve gourmet hot dogs and frozen yogurt with a plethora of toppings for each.
“We will probably be the most unique hot dog shop and yogurt shop that you will find,” co-owner Jennifer Meyers said.
The shop is the evolution of a longtime dream for the Columbia woman who was raised in Dupo.
“Since I was a little girl, I wanted to have an old-time ice cream shop,” Jennifer recalled. “But moving forward with the times, frozen yogurt is healthier. For probably the last four or five years, I’ve wanted to do self-serve frozen yogurt in Waterloo or Columbia.”
She found a home for this dream in September, leasing the former home of an automotive repair shop at 624 N. Market Street.
The Meyers further modified their original concept by adding hot dogs to the menu, hoping to make the business more viable year-round.
“Everybody likes hot dogs, and there’s so many toppings you can do with them,” said Jennifer, who writes grants for an early childhood education center.
The Meyers have been working countless hours to get the building ready for its new purpose.
That has included demolishing an office and bathroom, repainting the entire inside of the building, installing windows, removing all flooring to install plumbing and widening a doorway.
“The only thing existing when we rented it was the shell,” said Brad Meyers, a project manager for a construction company.
Even with that effort and Brad’s expertise, the remodel was taking longer than planned. So, the Meyers hired subcontractors to help get their business open sooner.
Those people will need to complete work like putting up wall finishes, none of which are drywall, and installing ceiling tiles.
Once completed, the building’s interior will evoke an industrial shop feeling to honor the building’s history and help it stand out from other frozen yogurt restaurants. It will do this by using earthtones and metal.
“We didn’t want to do your cookie cutter frozen yogurt shop,” Brad said.
“Every one you walk into is the same,” Jennifer elaborated. “You’ve got a wave wall, the pastel colors or the bright colors. They’re the same. You’re not going to get that here.”
Yo-Toppings will also be singular due to the variety of toppings it will offer.
The Meyers will have 25 hot dog toppings and 50 frozen yogurt toppings out on their self-serve bar at one time.
Those will change throughout the year, with the seasons and current flavors of frozen yogurt helping to determine what will be available.
Part of the reason for that is the business plans to get fruits and vegetables from local farmers as potential toppings.
It will also include more traditional toppings, such as chocolate and caramel syrup, hot fudge, sprinkles, gummy bears and cheesecake bites for the frozen yogurt.
The toppings will not be the only draw, though, as the food beneath them will be of a high quality.
The hot dogs will be quarter-pound, all beef hot dogs like those found at sporting events. They will be served on buns from Ahne’s Bakery in Waterloo.
The frozen yogurt will be one that is shipped as a frozen liquid.
“There’s powder and there’s liquid,” Brad explained. “Powder is not as creamy and not as smooth. There’s a lot of room for error mixing it. So we’re going with the more expensive, quality, creamy yogurt.”
There will be 18 different flavors of yogurt available at once, including twists, sugar-free and dairy-free fruit sorbet varieties.
Once patrons have their food, they will be able to eat it either in a lounge area with a large couch, board games and a foosball table or on an outside patio area during the warmer months.
The latter spot will also feature games such as Giant Jenga.
“It will be a very family-oriented atmosphere,” said Jennifer, who will work at the establishment. “Our biggest thing is we want families to come in and enjoy themselves.”
Yo-Toppings can also bring food to its customers, as it has a hot dog cart to cater events. During Lent, a baked potato bar will be offered on Fridays for Catholics who are abstaining from meat.
As it nears opening, Brad and Jennifer said the community has been exceptional throughout the entire process of getting open.
“Waterloo’s been phenomenal,” Jennifer said. “Everyone has been so supportive here. Even other businesses have been so friendly. It’s just awesome.”
“We can’t say enough about the mayor (Tom Smith) and Shawn Kennedy,” Brad added.
Given that support, the couple said they plan to return the favor.
“We want to be involved in the community, for sure,” Brad said.
“We’re not competing with anybody,” Jennifer added. “We don’t really believe in competition. We believe in supporting each other.”
For more information, search “Yo-Toppings LLC” on Facebook.