There’s nothing like Sin City’s sizzling summer days and nights – usually spent lounging by the pool or working up a sweat on the dance floor – to make you crave a cool treat. And Blizz Frozen Yogurt & Desserts is elated to serve, or rather, soft-serve you.
“The name ‘Blizz’ is actually derived from the word ‘bliss,’” said Tony Ravelo. “I thought the ‘z’ gave it a colder, chillier effect and made it more of a fun word.”
He and his wife, Emily, own and operate the rapidly expanding chain in partnership with celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Nassif and his wife, Adrienne Maloof, one of the stars of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” TV show.
“There is something for everyone at Blizz,” said Emily. “That is what’s wonderful about us – we have desserts for every taste.”
The company now boasts four locations on or near the Strip. Originating in California, Blizz entered the Las Vegas market in 2009, debuting in the food court at the Palms. Two more shops opened soon after at The Mirage and Luxor, with the most recent launch occurring March 24 at the MGM Grand. In addition to frozen yogurt, smoothies, crêpes and waffles, this new Blizz location features a pastry case with decadent creations like molten lava cakes and raspberry truffles as well as The Bar, which offers a unique line of yogurt-based daiquiris and other cocktails.
“It may sound weird, but it’s a nice combination. Daiquiris have been made with water for mainstream purposes. They originally were dairy-based, and we went back to that,” explained Tony. “It’s a time-consuming, tedious process to get the alcohol and dairy mixture right, but it’s so smooth.”
“The yogurt takes the edge off the alcohol and makes the drink much creamier,” agreed Emily.
Each cocktail concoction at Blizz has a yogurt foundation to distinguish its flavor. For instance, a piña colada – the biggest seller – uses the coconut yogurt, while a strawberry daiquiri is made with the strawberry yogurt and a mango crush utilizes the tart yogurt. There are five drinks on tap that are changed out regularly, with two new ones introduced each month. They can be served alone in a small 20-ounce glass or mixed in a tall yard glass.
“Our comeback ratio is incredible. Once we give you a sample, you’re ours,” said Tony. “I mean that’s it…you’ll be back for refills the whole weekend.”
The same could be said about their yogurt. What sets Blizz apart from other self-serve frozen yogurt companies is the quality, which the Ravelos attribute to their premium base.
“When you taste our yogurt, you’ll notice it’s not grainy, icy or watery,” said Tony with pride. “Ours is very rich and very creamy. When you try it, you’re going to say, ‘Wow, there really is a big difference.’”
The Ravelos have a dairy company that makes their custom-blended base and several of the traditional flavors. Some of the more exotic flavors – like guava – are produced in-house with natural ingredients, juices and pulps. No preservatives, chemicals or syrups are ever used. Plus, the Ravelos own a bakery in Southern California. That’s where they get the cake batter for their cake batter yogurt.
“What I hear, from those who are connoisseurs, is that our cake batter yogurt is the best in the country,” raved Tony, “and our guava yogurt will knock your socks off!”
There are up to 12 flavors available at each shop. They are swapped out frequently, so you’re always in for a pleasant surprise. Even though Tony and Emily admit to having a favorite flavor – both adore the original tart yogurt – they can be fickle. Emily finds the simplicity of the strawberry yogurt to be ever-appealing, and Tony often gets hooked on new arrivals.
“Right now, I’m into the crème brûlée yogurt,” he said. “It’s to die for. It really tastes like crème brûlée. A lady even asked me if I could torch sugar on it, and I said that I could – but it might melt the yogurt.”
From cookie dough to brownies, all of your favorite toppings are available at Blizz. You can also cap your yogurt off with more unusual treats, like cheesecake bites and Cap’n Crunch cereal. The fresh fruit selection is vast. In addition to popular choices like strawberries and pineapple, you’ll notice kiwi, pomegranate and melon.
According to the Ravelos, the honor of the weirdest yogurt/topping combination goes to the professional basketball players who visit the Palms every year during the NBA’s Summer League.
“They’ll actually bring those buckets used for beer – I kid you not – that’s what they fill up. It must be 40 ounces, and they’ll ask if we have anything bigger,” said Tony, while laughing. “I don’t know if they’re trying to load up on calories, but they’ll put in sour gummi worms, M&M’s, cookie dough, chocolate strawberries, kiwi – everything we have…they’ll put it all together.”
“It’s just a big mess, and they’ll sit there and devour it,” concurred Emily, who also enjoys watching kids as they pour their yogurt. “They just come up with the funnest mixes.”
At Blizz, you’ll discover yogurt-blended frappés and all-natural smoothies. The staff can make you a shake that will taste like it packs 2,000 calories, but in reality only has a quarter of that count. There are even some off-the-menu specials – like the chocoberry protein blast for bodybuilders and people who want to spend the day out by the pool.
“They want a lot of protein, so what we do is take a premium chocolate base protein powder and combine it with the quad berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries,” explained Tony. “We use skim milk or juice, depending on their preference, and a whole banana. This makes the most wonderful protein smoothie you can have. It’s a meal for your whole day.”
Speaking of meals, that’s another thing that separates Blizz from its competitors. The menu features a lineup of sweet and savory crêpes. Don’t miss the beloved “crêpizza” made with mozzarella, pepperoni and pizza sauce.
“Many guests who have stayed at the MGM or one of our other Las Vegas locations will contact us on Twitter or Facebook when they get home to say how much they miss us and how much they wish we were there,” said Emily. “It’s funny as their first thought on getting back to Las Vegas is going to Blizz.”
And that’s because they are just following their bliss!