WICKER PARK — The Wicker Park outpost of a fast expanding fro-yo franchise specializing in probiotic fortified yogurt, vegan sorbets and smoothies is scheduled to open Sunday, pending a city inspection.
"We're pretty much one month off from when we'd wanted to open. If all goes well, we will be open on Mother's Day," general manager Chet Katrodia said of the inspection, scheduled for Wednesday.
Red Mango is a self-serve frozen yogurt and smoothie franchise chain that originated in South Korea and offers all-natural, Kosher and gluten-free frozen yogurt as well as fruit smoothies, parfaits, vegan sorbets and iced tea.
Katrodia held a team meeting late Tuesday with most of the shop's 15 part-time employees, who were all hired within the past month and live in Wicker Park, Belmont-Cragin and Logan Square, among other neighborhoods.
The fro-yo franchise, which was rated No. 1 among fro-yo chains in a 2011 Zagat survey, fortifies its yogurt and iced teas and lemonades with probiotics, or "good bacteria," said to help strengthen immune systems.
The 950-square-foot space — which formerly housed an AT&T retail store and is about one block south of the Milwaukee-Damen-North avenues intersection — will offer outdoor patio seating at a sidewalk cafe.
Katrodia said the franchise chose to expand to Wicker Park because "it's a great neighborhood and it's getting more and more popular with a lot of young adults, our target audience."
Headquartered in Dallas, Red Mango was founded in 2007 and has 230 locations nationwide; 30 of which are in the Chicago area, including downtown's Water Tower mall, Lincoln Park, West Loop and Evanston.
Wicker Park's outpost will mark Red Mango's 31st location in Chicagoland.
Red Mango in Wicker Park will offer 12 flavors of yogurt such as mango and pomegranate, rotated once a week or biweekly and 21 toppings including fresh fruits, chocolate and mochi, a soft Japanese rice candy.
Yogurt is available in regular and large size cups and is sold at 49 cents per ounce, while smoothies are prepared by staff and available in 12 and 16-ounce sizes ranging in price from $4.95 to $6.50.
All but one item (pumpkin flaxseed granola) on Red Mango's menu is gluten-free. For details on calories, consult nutritional information here.
Red Mango is located at 1513 N. Milwaukee Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Consult its Facebook page for pre-opening details. The phone number is 773-993-1000.