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Pinkberry: What's the Big Deal?

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With news of more locations poised to serve, it's about damn time we did a little investigative journalism.
Pinkberry: Come on, now, really? Isn't it just frozen yogurt? What's the big deal?

Pinkberry is the little yogurt shop that could--and has--bloomed into a behemoth of local franchises, and with all the hype, they seem set to convert you to be one of their kind.

Every trend loves its skeptics, and we count ourselves among the unsure. We began to notice that the murmurs about this West Hollywood hot spot with cold treats getting louder last year. Then we heard tales of people waiting in line--yes, waiting in line!--sometimes over an hour, just for a cup of one of their two flavor offerings--yes, a mere two--of plain vanilla or green tea. "This is absurd!" we scoffed. How could frozen yogurt tame impatient taste-seekers to queue up like Cold War Russians? Was it just a scene where it's good to be seen, or had the Pinkberry geniuses crafted some sort of miracle tonic in the form of a swirly-top iced dessert product?

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Over the next few months, "Coming Soon: Pinkberry!" signs cropped up all over town. One such sign eclipsed the sign above the door to our favorite local Boba Bar in Studio City. Pinkberry was coming to take a bite of the Valley. Like, OhMyGod, Okay? We waited until the opening buzz died down, and then approached with caution.

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Inside our nearest Pinkberry things were humming along merrily in the mid-afternoon. It's a bit like a Japanese pop-music acid trip in there, with shiny plastic mod seats in green and orange, things dangling from the ceiling, and cheery staff behind a modest display case of toppings. We placed our order, then stood back to wait. When our plain yogurt with kiwi cubes, raspberries, and crumbled Oreos (it came with three free toppings, so, why not?) was up we snatched it off the counter and surveyed the cup. Here we go, we thought. The mighty Pinkberry.

The fruit made for a nice balance against the stark tang of the more natural-style frozen yogurt. It's not coyingly sweet, but rather more refreshingly tart, like straight up ice milk. We worked our way from the swirled peak to the base of the cardboard cup, dropped our plastic spoon in the empty container and wiped our face. And that was that. Mystery solved.

Pinkberry: It's just frozen yogurt. It's good, and probably a better dessert habit than a Coldstone creation. But wait in line for it? No. The big deal? Honestly, there isn't one.