Owner Kathleen Trahan at Bella Vitas Cafe, which offers frozen yogurt, crepes, sandwiches, drinks and salads.
Owner Kathleen Trahan at Bella Vitas Cafe, which offers frozen yogurt, crepes, sandwiches, drinks and salads. (Sun photos by Bob Whitaker)

CHELMSFORD -- In the last few years, the popularity of frozen yogurt has risen quickly throughout the United States including here in central Massachusetts. One after one, froyo places have opened, making business slower while they share yogurt-loving customers.

Kathleen Trahan of Chelmsford faced this challenged as she opened a frozen yogurt restaurant, Bella Vitas, in February, 2013. But Trahan did not let this obstacle stop her from creating a booming business.

Trahan has three sons in high school and college, who had always said that Chelmsford needed somewhere people could go and chill out. They had the idea that their own mother, an employee of Century 21 Landmark Realty in Chelmsford, could create this spot and make it happen one day. That day came and the family sat down at the kitchen counter and laid out what their restaurant would be like.

Frozen yogurt at Bella Vitas in Chelmsford.
Frozen yogurt at Bella Vitas in Chelmsford.

With frozen yogurt places attracting customers including teenagers and people looking for healthy alternatives, Trahan started her business by just selling froyo. As three other places opened in Chelmsford around the same time, she knew she had to make Bella Vitas different from the rest.

After brainstorming, one of the Trahan sons suggested the idea of crepes due to a popular creperie at his college in Georgetown. Crepes were also a popular treat made by Trahan's mother when she was young. The idea complimented frozen yogurt with the similar toppings and fruits.

Crepes were quickly added to the menu along with wraps, soups and salads, creating a menu that is much more than frozen yogurt.


Bella Vitas offers 18 froyo flavors, keeping the basics and rotating more unusual flavors every one to two weeks. Trahan says the most popular are the sea salt caramel and cookies-and-cream. There is always at least one sugar-free flavor as well as a sorbet, favored by lactose intolerants.

A Bella Vitas regular customer, GG Hunermund of Chelmsford is at the restaurant often with her daughter. "When it gets hot out, we don't want anything else. I like to look at the Facebook page to see the different flavors of the week," says Hunermund.

The exterior of Bella Vitas in Chelmsford.
The exterior of Bella Vitas in Chelmsford.

"Regular customers like to come in and always get their favorite. But it's fun for them to also switch it up when we rotate flavors," Trahan says.

There are 50 toppings to choose from such as fresh-cut fruit, nuts, candies and more. Customers can also purchase a quart of frozen yogurt for about $6 which is not common at other froyo places.

Smoothies, frappes and specialty hot drinks are also available. The Bella Tropical Delight smoothie is filled with fresh mango, pineapple and coconut.

Sweet or savory crepes are choices at Bella Vitas, with 12 of each offered. Many customers often order the savory turkey bravo crepe consisting of turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and honey mustard, as well as the sweet strawbana crepe with nutella, bananas and strawberries.

Bella Vitas customer Michelle Robbins of Chelmsford orders the veggie crepe. "It's delicious. Everything's fantastic here. The owner is not only a great cook, but also an awesome supporter of local nonprofit organizations. She's great."

The staff at Bella Vitas is known for being outgoing and friendly. Most of the workers are high school students who are friends with Trahan's sons. This makes their work enjoyable and relaxing because they are coming to work with people they know.

Trahan says that the environment and people are the aspects that make her restaurant special. People can come in and sit back at one of the small tables or couches and enjoy lunch or a sweet treat.

Bella Vitas means "beautiful life" in Italian, Trahan's nationality. The name represents what Trahan wanted for her customers when they came in to the establishment. She wanted people to be able to relax from their daily routines and enjoy their time there.

The Chelmsford Street location keeps the restaurant busy with near-by stores, a yoga center, baseball fields and the bike trail bringing in a variety of customers. The restaurant's busiest time of day is lunch and there is always more business from Thursdays through Sundays.

With the Bella Vitas loyalty program, members can gain points with each purchase leading up to $5 off at every 50 points. There are almost 3,000 members of the program. The restaurant delivers in the Chelmsford area with a minimum of a $10 purchase.

Like most frozen yogurts places, the yogurt's price is determined by the weight -- at Bella Vitas it is $0.49 an ounce, while smoothies and frappes are about $5. The crepes range from $5.50 to $7.25.

For information, visit bellavitasfrozenyogurt.com or call 978-856-7330. Bella Vitas is located at 93 Chelmsford St., Chelmsford, and is open Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. till 10 p.m.