Four words- sea salt pretzel caramel. It hits all of the notes; sweet, salty, and delicious.  Now couple that with red velvet cake, blueberry muffin, birthday cake batter, pomegranate and strawberry mango and you have just a selection of frozen yogurt flavors available at the new self-serve frozen yogurt shop that opened this summer in Ocean City. OC Swirl is located on 18th Street in the Village Market Shopping Center and offers 15 flavors of frozen yogurt, 60 toppings, and a variety of healthy breakfast options.

Self-serve frozen yogurt establishments are becoming increasingly popular. OC Swirl is taking advantage of this trend. Like its urban counterparts, they have yogurt machines available to patrons. This allows you to choose your portion size, taking as little or as much as you like, in any combination. You can then add any number of toppings, in any amount. They then weigh your creation and have a charge per ounce. This is fun for kids and kids at heart. It also allows you to get exactly what you want and let your creative juices flow.

I panicked at the freedom. The 60 toppings include everything from cereal to fresh fruit to Baltimore Raven’s colored sprinkles. Everything looked good and I ended up with pomegranate yogurt topped with Cap’n Crunch, Reese’s Pieces, blueberries, and hot fudge. It was surprisingly delicious – but I suggest having a plan in mind before you start.  Sometimes less is more. Start with less yogurt than you think you will need. The price is very reasonable but it is easy to get carried away.

Frozen yogurt can be a healthy sweet treat option. It is lower in fat than ice cream and rich in calcium. The frozen Greek yogurt OC Swirl offers has added protein like regular Greek yogurt. Be careful though. Lower fat does not necessarily mean lower in calories. Sometimes sugar is added to compensate for the lower fat, increasing calorie count. Choose portion size and toppings carefully if you are counting calories. They also have sugar-free and fat-free options to choose from for those concerned.
The main benefit of yogurt is that it contains pro-biotics that are beneficial to your health.  These are the live cultures of bacteria that contribute to normal flora in the gut and aid in digestion. Frozen yogurt is typically flash frozen which maintains the integrity of most of the probiotics found in regular yogurt. The bacteria only become dormant when frozen and activate when brought back up to body temperature when eaten.
Along with the yogurt, OC Swirl has breakfast options. They offer an alternative to the greasy bacon and egg joints in town. They have a unique cereal bar, muffins, bagels, and espresso, satisfying both kids and parents. They also make fresh smoothies and other coffee drinks. The shop is simple inside, but very clean and bright and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful.
My first time, the proprietor was there to explain their beginning. From across the bridge, she wanted to open a business with her family that they could all participate in.  However, she was quick to point out that none of them were working at the time. The ambitious beginning transitioned into a steady summer. They are anxious to become a part of Ocean City’s permanent landscape and even offer a discount to locals. Tourists are an essential part of the economy but locals sustain it year round. It’s nice when businesses recognize this.
Stop in to OC Swirl for breakfast or for a sweet treat. I’m still craving the sea salt pretzel caramel yogurt so I might see you there!
If you go:
OC Swirl
1806 N. Philadelphia Avenue, Ocean City, MD
On Facebook: OC Swirl
Featured photo: Some of OC Swirl’s many candy toppings that can be added to any frozen yogurt creation. Photos from OC Swirl’s Facebook page.