In 1903, Ernest Shackleton braved the Antarctic wilderness in search of natural deposits of frozen kefir—a fermented-milk beverage known as "white gold" by local Adélie penguin populations. Toboggan into tastiness with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of frozen kefir and other treats at Starfruit. This Groupon can be used at all four Starfruit locations in Chicago, including the new Merchandise Mart location.
Starfruit coaxes nutrition from its frozen treats through the use of Lifeway Kefir, a milk-based drink with smoothie consistency. Lifeway Kefir contains 10 live probiotics—bacterial bringers of better digestion, strengthened immunity, and numerous other health benefits. While inner elves bask in the glory of Starfruit's nutritional frozen kefir, tongue trolls will be content to enjoy the varied tastes and toppings. Crown a small pomegranate kefir ($3) with blueberries and rainbow sprinkles ($1 for first topping, $0.50 for each additional topping), or make it rain pineapple and shredded coconut on a large low-fat peach kefir ($5 before toppings). Starfruit also serves up signature smoothies ($5–$7, depending on size) such as the Daily V, made with pineapple, mango, banana, multi-vitamin, peach kefir, and vanilla kefir, and the Breakfast Blast, made with almonds, granola, banana, whey protein, and vanilla kefir. Mixologists wishing to flex their fusion muscles can create their own parfait or smoothie ($3–$5, depending on size) with toppings ($1 for first topping, $0.50 for each additional topping) and health boosts ($0.50 each) such as whey protein and multi-vitamins specifically chosen to represent the lost loves of their lives.
Because redemption for this Groupon comes in the form of a reusable "cosmic card," guests can divvy up their dairy diary entries among multiple visits. Experiment with textures, tastes, and tones in an endless quest to discover the Starfruit frozen kefir that best helps you forget about the steel bear trap still clamped around your foot.
Starfruit was featured in Centerstage and reviewed on Chicago Weekend Fun. Yelpers rated Starfruit’s Loop location 3.5 stars, 160 Yelpers gave the Wicker Park locale 3.5 stars, and the Lincoln Park shop earned four stars:
- The most engaging aspect of Starfruit's interior is how white the walls have been painted. Between the maximum whiteness and the psychedelic fruit patterns on the walls, it's like looking into the infinity. – Andy Seifert, Centerstage
- If youre [sic] looking for a frozen sweet treat but dont [sic] want the guilt of ice cream, this is your place! – Kymberly J., Yelp
- Finally. Something cool, sweet, and splendid that I can savor and not feel one bit guilty about. – Kelly S., Yelp
Starfruit elevates the frozen-yogurt game by filling cups with a frozen version of Lifeway kefir, a yogurt-like dairy drink packed with probiotics. The tangy kefir teems with 10 probiotic cultures—compared to traditional yogurt’s 3 or 4—that lend digestive flora a helping flagellum. Before the addition of toppings, each ounce of frozen kefir harbors a mere 15 calories, is 99% lactose-free, and goes light on fat, gluten, and unadulterated evil. Patrons hover over toppings stations to ladle cookie crumbles, cereal, or fresh fruit onto their icy spires, layered parfaits, or kefir smoothies.
Starfruit and Lifeway both strive to minimize their carbon footprints by purchasing certified renewable energy credits, offsetting 100% of the energy used to produce their products, and give daily backrubs to each tasty treat. Starfruit’s serveware is biodegradable, and Lifeway kefir sources all of its dairy from Midwestern cows free of antibiotics and hormones.