Jaclyn Freshman chose the original “tart and sweet” yogurt with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, and dark chocolate crisps.
Sarah Bull chose the “pomegranate original swirl” with similar fruit and added the “mochi” or rice tapioca bits, along chocolate chips.
Christine Wu had the pomegranate yogurt with lots of strawberries with some teddy grahams stuck against the swirl like yummy rocks in the dairy mountain.
Those were just some of the 38 toppings—and you can have as many as comfortably fit in your cup—offered free, along with the patented yogurt, of course, at the grand opening of Pinkberry, the high-end yogurt outlet that made its debut Thursday evening on Chapel Street.
Freshman, Bull and Wu, Yale sophomores, were among the early arrivers in a largely student crowd that stretched several storefronts down Chapel for the promotional giveaway.
Pinkberry, which began in Los Angeles in 2005, has grown rapidly to over 200 outlets, including in13 other countries. It arrived with much anticipation as the latest combatant in New Haven’s yogurt “wars.” Click here for an article on the range and variety of yogurt outlets in proximity to Yale and the Green.
It was the more the merrier for Yale senior Ariella Kristal (pictured), who was—if you don’t count the significant other of one of the employees—literally the first through the door when it opened promptly at 5 p.m. beneath a bauble of pink, lavender, and green balloons.
She ordered the original “tart and sweet” flavor, piled high the fruit and tasted. The verdict: “Delicious.”
Kristal came to Pinkberry to celebrate turning in her senior thesis. As the writer of a tome on economics, she viewed the arrival of Pinkberry as a win-win. She described herself as “someone who takes great joy in the proliferation of frozen yogurt places around New Haven.”
At Froyo World, the nearest competitor around the corner on High Street, you pay by weight. Pinkberry offers only small, medium, and large containers that you fill with as many toppings as the container will “comfortably hold,” according to Cindy Lawerence.
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Lawrence is the area director for Think Pink. That’s the franchise company run by Jamison Karson who has four other Pinkberrys in its orbit, including another one—they are proliferating like the toppings—coming on line at Darien’s I-95 northbound service plaza.
Before the store opened Lawrence led the 15 employees in a group cheer and hug.
In all the new outlet employs 36 people on a part time, approximately 20-hour per week schedule, without benefits, said Pete Casey, Pinkberry’s director of domestic operations.
He said Pinkberry came to New Haven not to swallow up all the other stores but to offer what he called a superior product with fresh cut daily fruit to customers, including “the many students at Yale who are well educated and know the value and quality.”
“The ‘tang’ is the secret,” Casey said of his product. “It’s smooth, creamy, light on the tongue, doesn’t fill you up, leaves you refreshed.”
Even the name, Pinkberry, he suggested “makes you happy. When you say it, it’s springtime.”
Co-Op High seniors Mariah Alix and Kaelyn DeRubis. They said they had tried Pinkberry in Boston and found it not to their liking.
Their opinion was changing as they finished up their pomegranate yogurt with the usual drizzling of fruit, and yogurt chips and mini peanut butter cups.
“Most frozen yogurt tastes like ice cream. This is lighter and tastes like ... yogurt,” said Kaelyn
“It’s a lot better because it’s a fixed price and you don’t accidentally over-pay,” added Mariah.
The three Yale sophomores were not as convinced of Pinkberry’s immediate triumph:
Jaclyn: “It’s the best in the Yale area.”
Christine: “It’s got competition.”
Jaclyn: “It’s going to win.”