Frozen-Yogurt Wars: We Have Not Yet Begun to Flurt
Last week, Grub Street compiled a comparison chart of different frozen yogurts (and one gelato) found in New York City. We asked readers for thoughts and you responded with frozen gusto. The most popular response was “You missed Flurt!” Indeed we did; the chain (now with two locations) opened in July. So here’s what you need to know:
Country of Origin: New York City
Social Aesthetic: Tundralike minimalism.
Product Pitch: We’re cheaper than Pinkberry!
NYC Locations: Two: Gramercy and Battery Park City.
Critical Reception: Unofficial just yet, but commenters on Chowhound offered a “better than Pinkberry” consensus. One reader concurred: “Flurt is a takeoff of Pinkberry, but the yogurt has much better texture. Plus, they offer smoothies and Greek yogurt parfait.”
The New Cold War: Frozen Yogurt Invades New York
Now that Red Mango — the first big Korean fro-yo chain, and thus the progenitor of the new wave started by Pinkberry, which hails from LA — is coming to New York, it’s time to take stock of the ever-growing number of frosty options. Since Pinkberry first opened its doors here last year, the dessert has descended across the city like a cold curtain. It was only in June that Rob and Robin shortlisted the new frozen-yogurt options, and since then /eks/ and, soon, Red Mango have been added. How to separate the Pinkberrys from the Yolato from the gelatos? We had to make up a chart to parse it all (full disclosure: We cheated a little by including Grom, which isn’t strictly fro-yo — but it is an excellent new gelato spot). After the jump, our guide to the new yogurt culture. What’s your favorite? Email us and we’ll print the results.
The Yogurt That Started It All Is on Its Way — But Where?
The frozen-yogurt battle between Pinkberry and its competitors (Yolato, Öko, /eks/, et al) is pretty much a big bore by now, but the impending arrival of the grandfather of all Korean yogurt chains, Red Mango, may stir the pot a little yet. In sheer number of living germs or “cultures” as they’re called in the yogurt business, Red Mango claims to have an almost Malthusian population advantage. “To be called yogurt, a typical refrigerated supermarket product needs to have 10 million cultures. Ours has 500,” a Red Mango representative told us. But the big mystery is where Red Mango will land. A Grub Street informant noticed a sign in Flushing announcing a new store. Given the area’s large Korean population, this makes sense. But the company has spoken only of its future Manhattan store, at 723 Eighth Avenue. Just how many Red Mangos are on the way? And why are they called Red Mango when they sell yogurt? When we find out, we’ll let you know.
In the Magazine
Choose Your Food Group Wisely: Which Side Are You On?
There are four restaurant-related stories in this week’s issue, and they ask you to take a side. Are you a New Yorker who glories in the freshness of newly arrived strawberries and seasonal cooking in general? Or are you an atavistic who prefers to sit in air-conditioned steakhouses, consuming red meat in 90-degree weather? This week, at least, Adam Platt is clearly the latter, dining in the Freon fortress that is Landmarc and finding only the heaviest, most beef- and bacon-laden foods worthy of (faint) praise. Those of us who have fathers like him are enjoined, in one of this week’s Short Lists, to visit various steakhouses with our dads. On the side, there is more cool, natural frozen yogurt than ever to be had, enumerated in another Short List, and this week’s In Season features a recipe for delicate pasta with strawberries from Sfoglia.
Öko Enters the Yogurt Wars Armed With Green PowerIn the heat of the current gelato-and-frozen-yogurt wars, you might not think there was room for another major frozen-dessert concept. But while Grom, Pinkberry, Yolato, and the rest compete in Manhattan, Öko, a greener-than-green business serving two flavors of Greek-style frozen yogurt in a store in which nearly everything is biodegradable, has tailored itself for Park Slope. The walls and counter are made of compressed sunflower seeds; the spoons and straws, from potato starch. Even the plates, though seemingly made of transparent plastic, are actually composed of processed corn. The toppings are also all-natural, mostly fruit — blackberries, mango, kiwi pieces, and the like — along with dry toppings like shaved coconut, sliced almonds, dark-chocolate chips, and dried Turkish apricots. “This is just our first store,” general manager Mateo Braghieri tells us. “We want to open more.” Because, you know, there aren’t enough high-powered frozen-yogurt chains around.
Related: An Interactive Tour of the Country’s Greenest Food Business