LINCOLN SQUARE — For the more than 400 customers who emailed him wondering when Yogurt Square would reopen for business, owner Ali Ozturk finally has an answer.
It's been more than two months since Ozturk closed the shop at the corner of Lincoln and Leland avenues for remodeling.
Originally, he intended to have his fro-yo machines back in service by late January, but a switch in contractors delayed construction.
"That's the reason I'm late," Ozturk said. "Tell everyone I apologize."
The decision to remodel had many scratching their heads, considering Yogurt Square had been open for less than a year when it closed.
Ozturk's explanation: He felt compelled to switch up the decor when rival Yogurt Bunny popped up in North Center with a near carbon-copy interior.
"Even the same tile," Ozturk said of the distinctive green color.
"People are asking if I owned that store, so I decided to change."
Harsh Yelp! reviews — "hideous fluorescents and day-glo colors," "harsh florescent [sic] lighting I feel like I'm in a jail, or a hospital" — also prompted Ozturk to hire an interior designer, who recommended a warmer color palette. Returning patrons will notice additional seating as well.
Ozturk acknowledges that closing a thriving business, even for a short amount of time, is a risky proposition.
"I know I lost a lot of customers. I'm hoping they're going to come back."
He's offering plenty of bait to lure back regulars and newcomers alike.
There are new options for diabetics and the lactose-intolerant. Flavors have also expanded — hello, toasted marshmallow.
Oh, and on Friday, the yogurt is free.
For those who fear falling for Yogurt Square all over again, only to find themselves jilted without warning, Ozturk vows to remain faithful.
"I'm not going to close again."