Finally after almost a month of waiting, it finally came. The best frozen yogurt I’ve ever tasted my life is now in Nashville. No longer will I (or anyone else for that matter) have to settle for mediocre frozen yogurt shops that serve frozen yogurt that tastes like a Chinese buffet’s soft serve. Pinkberry opened its doors to Nashville on West End Avenue on October 14th, 2010 and the turnout from the grand opening was a success.
I’ve mentioned Pinkberry almost a month ago on my previous Pinkberry preview post during Nashville’s 2010 Mutt Strutt. But that was just a sampling… During the grand opening event, not only did I get to try their currently lineup of five flavors and nearly every topping, but I also got to speak with some very important people that made Pinkberry of Nashville a reality. A big thanks goes to Becky from DVL for making this happen.
The VIP Party was held next door to Pinkberry complete with pink carpet, guest lists, live music, several important people, and all the “pink” champagne and Pinkberry frozen yogurt you could care to eat. Here I got to meet President & CEO Ron Graves as well as Kevin Henderson, Market Director of The Penninsular Group (the ones who brought Pinkberry to Nashville).
Ron Graves was very courteous and informative with a genuine knowledge about the brand. He offered us individual samples of the six flavors currently available at West End’s Pinkberry and took the time to give us a little lesson about each one. With him he had Original, Mango, Pomegranate, Coconut, Chocolate, and Green Tea. He explained that Pinkberry isn’t like other frozen yogurt shops who buy their product from a 3rd party vendor. Pinkberry’s frozen yogurt is made in-house by their own staff who carefully handcraft each flavor. While Pinkberry may not have the dozens of flavors available at other frozen yogurt stores, you are sure to get a light, refreshing, and extremely delicious frozen yogurt that actually tastes tart, like real yogurt without that creamy/dairy aftertaste.
Kevin Henderson took the time to introduce himself and gave us a small history about getting Pinkberry to Nashville. Pinkberry took a year and a half to become a reality. He explained that the reason for this is because Pinkberry wasn’t allowing new franchising at the time. When they finally re-opened that process, he was one of the first to be at their doorstep. Kevin truly believes Pinkberry is an exceptional brand that brings something new to Nashville. When asked if the existing store would be the only Pinkberry location, he said there will be others. A total of 6 in fact with the next one being in Cool Springs of Franklin, Tennessee slated for the coming Winter months.
The Nashville Pinkberry store is simple, yet contemporary. Various pastel colors adorn every angle of the interior, making the atmosphere bright, even cheery. The natural glazed pebble floors, stylish furniture, and Le Klint pendant lighting display a sense of classiness. In the background, energetic music fills the air that matches the high-spirited attitude of the staff. Ron informed me that in order to work for Pinkberry, interviewees must audition for the job. The reason for this is to make sure you match the level of enthusiasm and energy to meet Pinkberry’s standards.
To add to that, Ron expressed the importance of having a full service staff with enthusiasm. He gave me the example of competitors, who run their stores as a self-service facility. The only interaction you get with a human being is when you get to the cashier, who weighs your cup and then you leave. He believes that takes away from an enjoyable experience. Pinkberry’s staff is about people who like to interact with others. Just like the atmosphere and their product line, customer service plays an important role in the Pinkberry brand.
Now for Pinkberry’s Swirly Goodness®… the reason why Haley and I have been ranting and raving about this insanely craveable frozen yogurt for almost a month. The current lineup of frozen yogurts at Pinkberry is the following (taken from Pinkberry’s website):
- Original - The signature flavor profile is sweet and tangy with a refreshing finish.
- Mango - Sweet and refreshing – it’s the perfect balance of deliciously authentic mango taste and our signature Pinkberry tang.
- Pomegranate - Made with 100% California grown pure pomegranate juice and is refreshing, bold and tangy.
- Coconut - …rich coconut flavor and smooth, tangy taste. Coconut Pinkberry is made with real coconut puree.
- Chocolate - …rich, indulgent, dark chocolate taste — light and delicate, though not as tart as Original Pinkberry…
- Green Tea – One of our 2 original flavors. This unique blend of green tea and Pinkberry’s signature tang has been known to put one into a zen-like state.
If you’re wondering, yes those are my own creations and I ate every single one of those cups plus a few more. From left to right they are Original, Mango, Pomegranate, Coconut, and Chocolate. The sizes you see picture are the “Mini” sizes ($2.49 each as pictured) and are about the size of a billiards ball. This may not seem like much but after the toppings, it is more than enough to satiate an average person’s sweet tooth craving.
The most tart and my favorite was the Pomegranate. I used to eat fresh pomegranate as a child and the frozen yogurt literally tasted as if they squeezed the juice directly into the mixture. Mixed with crunchy apple cinnamon granola, yogurt chips, mochi (Japanese soft rice cakes), and freshly cut strawberries, this cup was truly refreshing with lots of enticing flavors and textures.
My next favorite was Mango. Just as fresh and fruity as Pomegranate, this had the real taste of mangoes. In this cup I added mochi, dark chocolate crisps, and freshly cut mango fruit. I liked how the soft mochi added a sweet, chewy consistency to the fruity mango flavors of the frozen yogurt and fruit. The frozen yogurt and the actual fruit tasted identical to each other. The dark chocolate crisps added a mild bitterness and satisfying crispness to my creation.
My 3rd favorite is a tie between the Original, Coconut, and Chocolate flavors. Each one has a very unique characteristic that sets it apart from the others but I couldn’t decide which was better. The original flavor is simply sweet and tangy. When I had it last at Mutt Strutt, it had loads of fresh fruit on it. Because I liked it so much, I repeated the same technique and added strawberries, pineapples, and shaved milk chocolate. It was as exhilarating as the first time I tried it.
The Coconut flavor is very similar to the original but it has a nice coconut aftertaste. Haley mentioned that it reminded her of piña coladas. To continue with this theme, I added fresh pineapple and kiwi fruits with flakes of sweet coconut and milk chocolate shavings. The taste of coconut puree and coconut shavings mixed with the sweet and tartness from the frozen yogurt and fruits made it taste like a virgin piña colada drink. I dub this recipe, “Hyoungry Man’s Pinkberry Piña Colada”.
The Chocolate literally tasted like a fudge popsicle with half the sweetness. This is the only flavor at Pinkberry that does not have the signature tart taste. If you love the flavor of chocolate (or fudge popsicles) then you’ll love this flavor. For my sample, it’s obvious that strawberries and chocolate go together but I also dressed it up with honey almond granola and flakes of coconut.
Last but not least is the Green Tea frozen yogurt. Since I’ve had green tea before, I can admit that this really does taste like the real thing with a strong aftertaste. Haley didn’t like it very much and rightfully so because green tea is a bit exotic for most people. A grassy (even seaweed-like) essence mixed with the natural tartness of the frozen yogurt made this flavor reminiscent of chewing on lemongrass. I particularly didn’t care for this flavor and when compared to the real fruity flavors of the others on the menu, I would be hard pressed to ever try Green Tea again. But that’s not to say it’s bad because it’s not. If Pinkberry were to call me and say you get a lifetime supply of Green Tea frozen yogurt, I would gladly accept it.
I hope that Pinkberry does extremely well in Nashville because it is certainly the best I’ve ever had. With the successes of the West End Avenue location will come additional Pinkberry locations. Personally I don’t see a reason why it shouldn’t be successful. Past experience shows that people like Pinkberry in other markets. Nashville needed a franchise such as this because all the other frozen yogurt boutiques failed to deliver a great product. Competitively priced, you get the best frozen yogurt available with as many toppings as you want. The quality of the frozen yogurt, toppings, atmosphere, and staff is unmatched. I have become, and always will be, a fan of Pinkberry’s Swirly Goodness®.
Still wondering about Pinkberry? Check this out… I was given an opportunity to have a Q&A session with someone from Pinkberry earlier this week. That person was Suzanne Ginestro, VP of Brand Marketing for Pinkberry.
- Can you tell me a little bit about the Pinkberry brand and how it came about? Pinkberry reinvented the frozen yogurt category when it launched in West Hollywood, Calif. in January 2005. Today it is the most talked about, best tasting, premium frozen yogurt, made with high-quality fresh ingredients. From store design to exceptional customer service to irresistible flavors and toppings, Pinkberry provides a social experience that indulges the senses.
- I’ve tried dozens of frozen yogurts in my lifetime, but Pinkberry is the first I’ve ever had to actually taste like yogurt you get at the grocery store. Why is this? Pinkberry is made with real nonfat milk and nonfat yogurt and is certified by the National Yogurt Association since it’s packed with millions of live and active cultures (in other words, it’s real yogurt). Our distinctive flavors are expertly crafted to have a crisp, refreshing and authentic taste and is the perfect complement to fresh-cut fruit and premium toppings.
- How many flavors of frozen yogurt does Pinkberry offer? In addition how many types of toppings are available? Pinkberry offers 6 different flavors. Currently, we have Original (tart & sweet), Pomegranate (bold & tangy), Chocolate (indulgent & rich), Mango (fruity & light), Coconut (smooth & subtle), and a Featured Flavor that rotates seasonally. We have more than 30 premium toppings to choose from. Each topping is selected with the highest quality standards, such as Grade-A fresh fruit that is hand-cut daily in-store, organic gummy bears with no high fructose corn-syrup, all natural honey almond granola, 100% pure pomegranate juice, or rich, premium Belgian chocolate shavings. Every item is thoughtfully selected as a unique and delicious pairing for the various Pinkberry frozen yogurt flavors.
- Does Pinkberry have a recommended recipe guide for newcomers? Exceptional customer service is a key component of the Pinkberry experience. Our trained staff will guide you through the ordering process one step at a time and if you are not happy with your order, we will gladly swirl you a new one.
- Is Pinkberry frozen yogurt sold by the ounce or by the cup? There are a variety of yogurt sizes at Pinkberry – mini, small, medium, large, take home, etc. Each cup is weighed to ensure you are getting the right number of ounces per size (i.e. a Mini is 3 ounces of yogurt, a small is 5 ounces of yogurt). When you order toppings at Pinkberry, you pay one flat price for toppings and can have as many as you want, as long as they fit comfortably in the cup. We do not weigh the toppings or charge toppings by the ounce. This allows customers to try new things, experiment, and fill their cup to build the Pinkberry that is perfect for them.
- Other than frozen yogurt, what else is offered on the Pinkberry menu? In addition to frozen yogurt and toppings for immediate consumption, Pinkberry now also offers Pinkberry Take Home, which is 25 ounces of Pinkberry, swirled-to-order and packed on ice to ensure your Swirly Goodness will get home safely to your freezer. New Pinkberry Fruit Bowls are also available for people looking for the fresh Pinkberry flavors in a non-frozen form. The Pinkberry Fruit Bowls include your choice of Pinkberry’s freshly cut fruit and is topped with Swirly Whip, a unique whipped cream with the distinctive Pinkberry Original flavor that is made fresh daily. Pinkberry also offers Fruit Parfaits (yogurt + fruit + granola) and Smoothies.
- A lot of people are being more health conscious these days. What is the fat, sugar, and caloric content of the average Pinkberry cup? All of the nutritional information can be found on our website under the product section. To keep it simple, a small Pinkberry with no toppings has roughly 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 30 grams of sugar.
- How healthy and/or beneficial is Pinkberry frozen yogurt? Pinkberry is made with only the highest quality ingredients. We are very thoughtful and careful about what we put in our yogurt (and what we don’t put in it!) We are also very thoughtful about what goes on the topping bar so that we can provide better choices for our customers. Our goal is to provide enough variety and choices for our customers so that they have the freedom to be as healthy or as indulgent as they want to be.
- Pinkberry is famous in the West Coast and up in New York, but it’s scattered everywhere else. Who is responsible for bringing Pinkberry to Nashville? Is there a story behind it? Pinkberry is expanding across the country and worldwide through franchising. We are partnering with local area developers who have like-minded values and who have extensive experience in running multi-unit retail establishments. Bob Langford, who leads the Peninsular Group, is the area developer who will bring Pinkberry to the Nashville market.
- In the Nashville area, there are already handfuls of frozen yogurt boutiques. How will Pinkberry stand apart from them? Pinkberry is more than just frozen yogurt. It’s a brand experience and a lifestyle. There are three main things that set Pinkberry apart: - Distinctive and premium products, made with only the highest quality ingredients, carefully selected and lovingly created- Inspiring store design that is crisp, fresh, and beautiful- Authentic customer service that surprises and delights each and every customer
- If the West End location ends up being successful, will there be plans to open new stores in the area? Yes.
2306 West End Ave
Nashville, TN 37203