Pinkberry strides into Chicago Friday morning, opening a frozen yogurt outpost a
their rumored arrival here. CEO Ron Graves shook hands and worked an hour-plus long line waiting for free samples at a preview of their 635 N. State St. store on Thursday evening, promising that it was "worth the wait."
In the name of, er, journalism, we braved the lines and here's what we can report back to you:
-- The store will feature six flavors (original, chocolate, mango, coconut, watermelon and just added salted caramel). Pick a flavor by itself or swirl it with another.
-- You can top your yogurt with ten different kinds of fresh fruit, 20 other kinds of premium and dry toppings or three different liquids (pomegranate juice, caramel or honey).
-- Monica liked her salted caramel and chocolate swirl with almonds, dark chocolate crisps, raspberries and mixed nuts. The quality of the fruit was first rate. The salted caramel leaves a quick, cool salt finish on your tongue.
-- Steve stuck to the original, adding watermelon, strawberry pearls (cool little balls of strawberry flavor that explode when you bite into it – think molecular gastronomy meets yogurt topping), milk chocolate and chocolate chips. The watermelon was extremely fresh and the pearls were a lot of fun.
-- We sampled all of the yogurt flavors and all were tasty, especially the watermelon.
Our samples would have run us about $4, but the store offers five different sizes (from $2.25 up to $8.25, depending on the flavor) and a take-home 25-ounce for up to $11.50. In general, it's more healthy than ice cream unless you load it up with a lot of sugary toppings. The 3-ounce mini versions are only around 100 calories while the 13-ounce large size ranges between 370 and 470 calories.
So, is it worth the hype? There are certain to be lines on Friday. If we had been just wanting a sweet treat, standing in a line that stretched around to Wabash would not have been the way to go. Nothing is worth that sort of wait (see:
). But if you like frozen yogurt, it's very good and worth trying. Is it any better than Red Mango or any of the other FroYo competitors? We think it will hold up well beside any of them.
On Twitter @scavendish and @monicaeng