WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
After closing its doors in January, Berry Body, a frozen yogurt shop and yoga studio at the corner of Prince George and North Boundary streets, will reopen next week with a new name and new approach to healthy eating and active living.
Owner Eric Christenson said the shop will now be called Lokal and will offer sandwiches, soup, salad, gelato and smoothies that contain at least one locally sourced ingredient, whether it’s gelato made with milk from Manquin or flatbread made with ground wheat berries from Charles City.
The shop’s basement, once entirely dedicated to the yoga studio, is now split to accommodate a small studio called Praktice, which will offer yoga and holistic movement classes, and a lounge decorated with restored furniture from Revibe, where customers can eat, study and relax.
“We’re trying to create a community and give people a healthy choice for food that supports local farmers,” Christenson said.
Christenson became the owner of Berry Body last May after the previous owner moved to California. He took over the shop with the intention to turn it into Lokal, an idea heavily influenced by his time in Italy learning to make regional cuisine.
“We just wanted to do something more local and something we felt was more healthy,” Christenson said.
He said offering a good, local product and keeping costs low will be the primary focus of Lokal. Christenson said an average lunch item would cost $7 and an entire meal, including a drink, should cost no more than $10.
Modifying recipes to include local ingredients is “part of the fun,” Christenson said, but also one of the challenges of the business.
If an ingredient is not produced locally, organic food or items made in the U.S. will be used. Some seasonal ingredients, such as strawberries, will be frozen in a blast freezer so they can be mixed in year-round.
Not all seasonal fruits and vegetables can be frozen, so the menu will change with the seasons and with customers’ taste, Christenson said.
Local ingredients, such as milk from Old Church Creamery in Manquin, have transformed how Christenson prepares dishes. The milk, which comes from Jersey cows, is high in butterfat and protein, eliminating the need to add cream or eggs to a batch of gelato while still contributing to a creamy, rich product, he said.
Keith Long, co-owner of Old Church Creamery, said Lokal’s use of their milk raises awareness of his businesses and gives Lokal “something to differentiate its own products with.”
“I think the main thing is not so much local, but it’s knowing the producer,” Long said. “You want to understand exactly how animals are being treated, how the food is being produced. You want transparency, and that’s more and more what we strive toward in our business.”
Christenson said he plans to create a visual display of the Lokal farmers, which he hopes will help start a dialogue about who made the food and how they did it, rather than just the country or region it is from.
He has already started some of those conversations –when passersby step into the shop looking for Berry Body frozen yogurt, he offers them samples of Lokal gelato.
Fredericksburg resident Laura Grumbach did just that earlier this month and found the flavor of the blueberry cinnamon gelato was better than the Berry Body she remembered.
“This is very unexpectedly good,” Grumbach said. “It definitely tastes very fresh.”
Free yoga classes will be offered from May 2 to May 7 at Praktice and a partial menu will be available at Lokal. The shop is located at 445 Prince George Street. For more information, visit the Lokal and Praktice websites.