Friday, October 29, 2010

Pinkberry's Hingham and Boston Arrivals

Pinkberry has arrived in Massachusetts.

If you're a member of the tart yogurt cult, you might be jumping for joy. I was a few years late to this party, but I do get a strong BerryLine craving now and then. In any case, the opening of another place in this category doesn't interest me all that much as BerryLine exceeds my needs.

Despite my admitted disinterest, I accepted an invitation to attend the opening of the Hingham Pinkberry back in August; I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I had a chance to sit down with CEO Ron Graves and try the yogurt.

Graves is on the left; I believe the two men on the right are the owners of the Hingham location.
The ribbon-cutting at Hingham.
Graves ushers in some children.
I was curious about how Pinkberry intended to compete with BerryLine, which is already firmly rooted in this area. Graves seemed irritated to be placed in the same category as imitation brands and said that Pinkberry, the "first" and the "leader", prefers to look inward and be the best it can be - the products, the store environment, the people - without considering the others. Graves doesn't measure his success based on the competition. Fair enough. "All frozen yogurts are not created equal," he said. (I'm picturing a West Side Story-style rumble between Pinkberry and BerryLine. This elaborate vision includes the throwing of fruit and candy toppings, giant cups of yogurt smashed on the ground, and plenty of singing and leaping gracefully.)

Graves told me of Pinkberry's three areas of focus: a delicious product, a bright beacon-like environment, and happy, energetic service. The environment's pretty cool; I'll give it that. Check out the floor and lamp:

The service has a squeaky clean perkiness about it, much like the smiley sticker hander-outers at WalMart. Personally, I'd rather hang out with the music students who staff the Fenway BerryLine. Large chain overly friendly service creeps me out. (Think Chotchkie's in Office Space.)

Graves scoops.
I'm loving the pink ties.
Fresh fruit toppings.
I got pomegranate yogurt with mochi and some other stuff.
This one is mine. Yum yum!
Graves actually took this photo of me. If he ever gets sick of yogurt, maybe he should look into a photography career!
Obligatory yogurt porn. I got pomegranate yogurt with mochi, gummy bears, pineapple and liquid pomegranate topping.
Graves talked a lot about the "clean finish" of the yogurt - the lack of a milky aftertaste. I've gotta be honest: I actually tasted that milky aftertaste stronger than any other brand of tart yogurt that I've had. The fruit topping (I had pineapple) was fresh and tasty, but the candy (special organic gummy bears and mochi) just didn't live up to my expectations. Each BerryLine store makes their own mochi from scratch every day, and you can really tell, but the Pinkberry mochi seemed like it was part of a monster batch made at some central factory location.

Pinkberry does have a special set of toppings that BerryLine lacks - liquid toppings. I got pomegranate juice, and it was a nice touch. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that they do take local, seasonal ingredients into account when changing up the flavors.

It's not my intention to be overly critical; if you're part of the Pinkberry fan base or if you've never had it before, you'll probably love it. My loyalties are with the brand that has already rooted itself into Boston and Cambridge, though. I'm glad that Pinkberry started this tart yogurt trend, but for the Boston market, BerryLine totally owns it. I love that they feature local artists and really make an effort to be a part of the community, and I find that their product simply tastes better.

If you'd like to check out the new Pinkberry, it's opening today at 288 Newbury Street (at Gloucester).

Disclaimer: I received a free tart yogurt and toppings at the Hingham Pinkberry opening. Since I am not backed by the budget of a publication, I do occasionally accept free food and product samples. Accepting free food or products does not obligate me to write a positive review or any review at all, and regardless of cost or lack thereof, my reviews represent my own full and honest opinion.


  1. Very weirdly I've tried Pinkberry multiple times but never had Berry Line! I'll have to make my own comparison!

  2. Loved pinkberry when I lived in LA! So excited to have found your site. Moved to CT a few months back and always looking for good eats when I hit Boston. So happy to have found you!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner


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