Photo: Sara Brown
Boston's long-awaited Pinkberry store opened Friday, with employees swirling cup after cup of tart yogurt to long-time fans and curious Pinkberry first-timers.
The California-based store has a cult following based on it's store locations in New York, California, and other spots, and yogurt fans--and some skeptics--were out in full force at Friday at the Newbury Street location, a week after the store was originally slated to open.
“I’ve been counting down the days,” said Katie Brag of her wait to get a cup of mango yogurt. Brag and her friend Hannah Bedard, both MIT students, said the yogurt is better than ice cream. “Absolutely,” Bedard said.
The Newbury Street store is the California-based chain’s first Boston location, and the second store in Massachusetts (a Hingham location opened in August).
Enthusiastic store employees introduced themselves to customers, gave Pinkberry information to first-time visitors, and offered up small samples of the yogurt, which comes in flavors including chocolate, pomegranate, and mango. See a slide show here.
According to the company's website, most of the yogurt flavors are low-fat, with between 100 calories and 120 calories per serving.
Yogurt toppings range from the healthy—spiced granola, honey roasted sesame seeds, and a variety of fresh fruit—to the decadent: brownie bites, praline hazelnut crunch, and milk chocolate pieces.
There’s also Pinkberry’s answer to gummy bears, a classic topping: organic fruity bears.
The yogurt is light, slightly tart and very smooth, and the original flavor is a nice base for toppings (the crunchy dark chocolate crisps and the tart, juicy pomegranate seeds were a tasty pairing).
The chocolate yogurt is slightly richer but not too chocolate-y, and the seasonal pumpkin flavor has a subtle pumpkin taste. (Reemah, a store employee, recommended the pumpkin paired with honey graham crackers, pumpkin spice granola, and cinnamon).
The yogurt also comes in mango, pomegranate, and coconut. Size options range from mini ($2.25 for original, $2.75 for flavored yogurts) to the take home size ($10.50/$11.50, servies 4-6 people). The store also has cones, smoothies, and parfaits.
According to customers, the yogurt satisfied the sweet tooth of Pinkberry fans, and won many Pinkberry converts.
Suin Park, a Pinkberry “veteran” (she’s had it in New York), brought friends Erica Cullinan and Whitney Kelly to the shop. The three got chocolate yogurt, with Cullinan and Kelly declaring it “delicious.”
Park said she had been eagerly anticipating Pinkberry’s arrival in Boston, checking the Pinkberry website for information on the store’s opening.
Friday’s rain stopped long enough for Joanne Lee, 24, and Josiah VanderMey, 23, to sit outside to eat their yogurt. The Cambridge residents opted for the original yogurt with pomegranate on top.
“I love Pinkberry,” said Lee, who said she was one of the store’s fans that dropped by last Friday, the store’s original opening date, to find that she’d have to wait another week for a fix (for reasons the company has not said.)
Yet she said it was worth the wait. “It’s just awesome,” she said.
Some had less favorable reviews. Jarrod Trainque said he came to try the yogurt because he’s a big fan of Berry Line, a local yogurt shop. Trainque said he wasn’t a fan of Pinkerry's small portion sizes and the selection of toppings, nor the atmosphere.
“I like my places dark,” Trainque said, noting the orange, blue, and green walls, upbeat music, faux-pebble floor, and modern white light fixtures that screamed California, New York, or Miami to him.
While Trainque’s dining companion noted she would be walking to the Fenway Berry Line shop, he added that he didn’t get the enthusiasm about the tart treat.
“It’s just yogurt,” he said.