On Saturday, Nov. 7, Tasti D-Lite will open its doors for the first time on the West Coast in Downtown Santa Monica. But the road to getting the East Coast staple out west was not a fast one, as the shop’s owners have had this plan in the works for three years.
Owner Kanna Sunkara said he and his business partners first discovered Tasti D-Lite while visiting family in New York. His friend Laura would run around Central Park every day and always get Tasti D-Lite afterward.
“She came to me and said ‘You gotta try this,’” Sunkara said. “I didn’t get what the big deal was. ‘Okay it’s less sugary fro yo.’ But she said, ‘No, I don’t feel sick afterward.’ Then we realized this would absolutely kill it in Santa Monica.”
Sunkara said the difference between Tasti D-Lite and frozen yogurt is how it really is “light.”
“In Santa Monica, all the frozen yogurt here drops a sugar bomb and then you feel so sick afterward,” he said. “Tasti D-Lite is low-calorie soft-serve and we just knew it would do well here as that kind of option.”
However, the shop won’t just be serving up soft-serve.
“When we asked the franchisers about bringing Tasti D-Lite to L.A., they were pushing Planet Smoothie on us as well, and we weren’t thrilled about it because we had this vision for this upscale Tasti D-Lite,” he said.
“But we hadn’t tried Planet Smoothie yet and when we did we had the same feeling as we did with Tasti D-Lite. It tastes great, it’s way better than Jamba Juice, or any of that stuff, and we realized, ‘Oh my God, this actually could be a fit from a business model standpoint.’ You have smoothies in the morning and afternoon, and you eat soft-serve in the afternoon and in the evening. It made sense to put them together.”
The shop will also feature Peet’s Coffee.
Sunkara said he is excited to open up to New York ex-pats who have been “scratching on the doors to get in.”
“The New York-L.A. connection is so big and we’re just excited to finally open and let New Yorkers have a little piece of home,” he said. “Like they’ve been asking ‘When are you opening? When are you opening?’ And we’ve been turning people away.”
The shop will open at 526 Wilshire Blvd. on the corner of 5th Street and Wilshire Boulevard on Saturday, Nov. 7. In celebration of the opening day, they will be giving out free Tasti D-Lite from 12-5 p.m. and gift bags to the first 150 people through the door. The location will then be open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“We know there is already a demand for [Tasti D-Lite] here and we saw the whole crazy buzz for Dunkin Donuts and so we think this is actually something you can enjoy every day,” Sunkara said. “There are people in New York that eat Tasti D-Lite every day. This being a healthier dessert option, we think it’s going to be as big a buzz as maybe even Dunkin Donuts.”
For more information, call 310-857-6030 or visit www.planetsmoothie.com or http://www.tastidlite.com.