By Eric on March 15, 2012 18

Froyo Face-Off: Orange Leaf vs. Menchie’s

While we keep searching for Rooney’s owner manual, here is a lighter post that was written pre-baby for your enjoyment. Thank you for all your comments and emails regarding Kelsey’s baby blues. The healing begins as we are honest with ourselves, our families, our readers and our midwives. Things get better with each day, and we hope to be back to regular blogging sometime in the near future.

Frozen yogurt shops seem to be all the rage these days.

There are a handful of fro-yo franchises that entered our neck of the woods recently, two of which we have tried.

I looked it up, and Orange Leaf and Menchie’s opened within a few weeks of each other in West Des Moines last fall. (We’re a little late to the craze.) They are self-serve frozen yogurt shops with futuristic branding/decor and offer a new way for us to enjoy the tasty cold treat known to hipsters as “fro-yo.”

While we were waiting for Rooney to arrive, we made a conscious effort to make the most of our time left as a family of two. So when Kelsey’s parents visited a few weekends ago we checked out Orange Leaf for the first time. And then, when we had his and her haircuts last Thursday night, and Kels said that she was hungry, we decided to give Menchie’s a try. They really make for great date night spots!

So it’s only natural that we compare the two, right? That we give an honest assessment of our not-so-scientific findings on these two fine fro-yo establishments.

This is based simply our opinions from one visit to each location. Try them for yourselves and let us know what your thoughts are.

Orange Leaf vs. Menchies


  • Name: Although neither name really tells you what kind of a business they are, Menchie’s just sounds cooler to us. We have a friend at work who adores Menchie’s. Her and her husband have adopted the fun phrase, “Did someone mention Menchie’s?” You can’t really do that with Orange Leaf…
  • Price: It’s a subtle difference, but if you’re a bargain fro-yo shopper you will want to go with Menchie’s. Menchie’s charges 44 cents per ounce while Orange Leaf charges 45 cents per ounce (how can they sleep at night?).
  • Location: In the West Des Moines area, Orange Leaf has the lock-down on the location. They are in the very hip and ever-developing Jordan Creek Shopping Center area. Menchie’s isn’t in a bad location, but simply not in as great of a place as Orange Leaf.
  • Fro-yo: Hands down, no contest: Orange Leaf has better fro-yo. It’s SO STINKING smooth. I can’t stop thinking about it. Menchie’s fro-yo is good, but can’t hold a candle to the silky smooth taste that Orange Leaf offers. Plus, Orange Leaf has about 25% more options when it comes to choosing your fro-yo flavors of choice.
  • Spoons: Orange Leaf wins with their shovel-shaped spoons. They’re very cool, and small details like that just make us smile.
  • Toppings: Menchie’s has a wider variety of toppings and they are nicely labeled, which helps with some of the obscure toppings that they offer. Orange Leaf just assumes you know what crushed Oreos look like. (Kelsey would like to state for the record, though, that while Menchie’s has a larger variety of toppings, they don’t carry her very favorite…NERDS. Orange Leaf does, however…)
  • Atmosphere: Both places carry a futuristic atmosphere that makes me question whether Dippin’ Dots are really the ice cream of the future anymore (that’s another discussion for another day). Orange Leaf has a lot more seating, TVs on the walls, couches, and low-profile tables and chairs that just make it seem cooler.

And with that, you have our opinions and comparison between Orange Leaf and Menchie’s. Given the choice, we would choose Orange Leaf every time.

Have you tried either place? What are your thoughts?


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Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. what is it about the Midwest and fro-yo? Out here on the east coast it is water ice and ice cream all the way. You would be hard pressed to find an actual fro-yo place (okay there are like 2 in Boston, but not anywhere else). I miss the fro-yo places in Indianapolis that we use to frequent!

  2. we had all of two fro-yo places to visit this past summer, but it seems like over the winter, they have hit our beach town with a giant splash. I’ve noticed at least 5 new stores near our apartment since january! since we’re still on baby step 2 with dave, our evenings out have been looking more like evenings in ;) so I’m really looking forward to fro-yo being a cheap summer date option! we may even have to try a ranking system like ya’ll!

    praying for your cute family – & can I just say, MORE ROONEY PICTURES ON INSTAGRAM, PLEASE!

  3. never been to menchies, but ames has Orange Leaf and Aspen Leaf. Same prices, most of the same toppings (though Orange Leaf had Nerds the first time we went, but not the second time–do they rotate toppings??). We love the fact that Aspen Leaf has highchairs for our one-year-old, but Orange Leaf has better (SMOOTHER!!!) fro-yo!

  4. 1. i love fro-yo; i’m happy it’s becoming a bigger thing in iowa. we have a menchies out in denver, but i’ve never heard of orange leaf. i’m definitely looking forward to trying it after reading your description!
    2. kels i’m so sorry to hear about your baby blues. =( i’ve never had a baby before, but i’m pretty close with my sister-in-law, and for her it definitely got better when her babies got old enough to make eye contact! and even more when they started to giggle. =) gives you some gems.
    3. on a completely unrelated note, i’m five weeks into my FPU class and ahhH! i love it so much!! i just used an education award from americorps to pay off a decent-sized loan, and crunched some numbers to discover that if i keep my current (americorps) standard of living even after i make more money (in grad school and during a summer job), i can pay off all my loans by the end of 2014! every time i start feeling discouraged, i watch a youtube video of the gazelle-intensity clip and it inspires me to keep chipping away, stay diligently on my budget…soon!!! anyway, i can’t thank you enough for this opportunity. i’m already trying to figure out a way to get a bunch of my friends and family members to take it. you’ve converted me to uncle dave’s way of life!!

    • Andrea! That is so awesome to hear! Glad it has been a blessing to you and that you are finding ways to share the great resource that FPU is. Good luck and keep your eyes focused on your goals!!

  5. We’ve had a ton of frozen yogurt places pop up recently, and I was on a fro-yo kick for like… 2 weeks. Really, nothing can ever overcome my love for Baskin Robbins’ Reese’s Peanut Butter ice cream.

  6. LOVE Orange Leaf! Had no idea there was a Menchie’s. My only beef with Orange Leaf is they “claim” on their website that there is one “coming soon” to Dubuque, but there are zero rumblings, ground breakings or even empty strip mall locations that look remotely like a fro-yo place is coming. Grrr…

  7. I love frozen yogurt! It seems like these places have been popping up all over!

  8. never tried menchies, but i cant imagine it could beat orange leaf!! we LOVE it!! also, brady thinks the spoons are mini-guitars…. :)

  9. Seriously, Orange Leaf???!!! Their (Orange Leaf) yogurt was grainie and chalky. Also, at Menchies sample cups are available at our leisure (instead of being “handed” a sample cup-YUCK!!), and the yogurt (Menchies) was much smoother and fresh. I agree, toppings at Menchies was much more abundant and fresh. For us and our kids, Menchies ROCKS over the chalky Orange Leaf.

    Menchies come to Ankeny!!!

  10. I have heard from a few sources, including a store employee at Orange Leaf, that their product comes in powder form and is mixed in the back room. That could explain the graininess or chalkiness. Also, I know that Menchie’s froyo and most toppings are Kosher, and their froyo has the Live & Active Cultures seal which means it has the certified amount healthy pro-biotics. Orange leaf according to FAQs on website is not Kosher and there is no mention of pro-biotics, so I am certain Orange Leaf “product” or “treat” (as they call it) does not contain them. menchie’s wins hands down every time in my book!!

  11. Menchies is so good. I tried it for the first time Sunday. Never heard of Orange Leaf.?? That doesnt sound to tasty.?? v.v

  12. Orange Leaf is hands down the winner because its very smooth and their flavors are very accurate! I don’t really like menchies because they don’t have as many flavors…even though menchies has a lot of toppings the toppings are not what people come for its the fro-yo people!!!!

  13. Came across this blog and just had to comment. Orange Leaf is “smoother” because it’s not real yogurt. It’s from a powder, and they mix it with skim milk in the back. Menchie’s is real yogurt, with live and active cultures. Not sure how Orange Leaf can get away with using the word ‘Yogurt’ in their name, but for sure they can’t claim it’s real.
    The difference is like comparing McDonald’s soft serve “ice cream” with the real thing like Baskin Robbiins. Sure McDonald’s might be smoother, but it’s just ice milk. Baskin Robbins is legit ice cream.
    We have an Orange Leaf in our area as well as a Menchie’s. After trying both it’s easy to tell the difference, esp. now that we know and appreciate the health benefits of eating real yogurt. It’s got a little tang to it, like real yogurt should. As such, seems like most of the customers at Menchie’s are families with children and health-conscious adults (come in after the gym in their outfits). The Orange Leaf in our area tends to draw mostly teens who just don’t know any better or don’t care about the difference and want a place to hang out. And while I think the shovel spoons are fun at first at Orange Leaf, Menchie’s spoons are a bit bigger and have different colors and characters on them my kids love…
    Just my 2 cents!

    • I.Love.Your.2.Cents! I’m not sure where you got your amazing knowledge for fro-yo, but thanks for the insight. Now that we have a baby, we don’t get out much for fro-yo, but we have become a bit more health conscious, so I think I would choose Menchie’s just knowing it’s real yogurt. Thanks again!

    • I also am confused on how a place can call there product something it is not. Frozen Yogurt , not eve close. In California its against the Law to call it Fro-Yo. Its powder mixed with skim milk and flavor. Gross. No wonder everyone complains about tummy aches after eating it.

  14. I was told by a district manager that their (Orange Leaf) yogurt is made FRESH daily. It didn’t come in a frozen block–I don’t know…I guess I will go research the FAQ and the Kosher topic. Thanks~

  15. Menchies is a frozen concentrate that has to be defrosted for an entire day before it can be dumped into one of their machines. Where as Orange Leaf is freshly made with skim milk daily. I guess anyone that likes Menchies over Orange Leaf also likes the frozen concentrate orange juice over freshly Squeezed.

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