I moved out here along the time of the Pinkberry craze. I had heard of the long lines outside of the dessert shops and kept meaning to try it and then finally two sprouted up near my hood in the Westside.
Raphael and I went this weekend and yes, there was a line but it went quick. The store is small and narrow similar to NYC's Tastey Delight stores (minus the kick ass chocolate flavors). However, the shops are very modern and Hello Kitty-ish in style. The branding is everywhere from their fun colorful logo to brainwashing songs that play on the radio spelling out Pinkberry in a girlish voice--very weird. They also have cool lights and weird kitchen objects on display and for sale.
I think the reason why they have been so successful in L.A. is because of the buzz (some good PR work there!), long lines and low fat "yogurt" credibility. At 25 calories per ounce, a small serving (5 oz) has 125 calories, a medium serving (8 oz) has 200 calories, and a large serving (13 oz) has 325 calories.
I put "yogurt" in quotes before because there is debate if Pinkberry is a yogurt or not. The Los Angeles Times sent samples of Pinkberry's product to a lab and revealed that Pinkberry did contain active yogurt cultures, but it does not contain the minimum amount of culture to call itself frozen yogurt, according to California state law. The company may be forced to reveal its recipe. Meanwhile, Pinkberry has removed all references to frozen yogurt from its website and marketing materials. The health benefits that were previously posted on the walls of Pinkberry (e.g., cures colon cancer, fights yeast infections) have also been removed. Another controversy, which LA Eater furthers is that Pinkberry stole their idea from Red Mango.
Anyway, back to the ... let's call it a dessert, is tart and actually tastes like real yogurt, thus my suprise to hear that it isn't. It tastes healthy, if that's possible, and the toppings are an array of fresh fruit, dried cereals (Fruity Pebbles and Capn' Crunch) to crumbled Oreos and granola. Pinkberry comes in only two flavors, original, which is just plain yogurt tasting and green tea, which is green colored and tastes like grass. My vote is with the original, which I then topped with fresh pineapples and blueberries and Raphael got his with kiwi, raspberry and mango (he's the more adventurous foodie). Anyway, we both liked it and found the yogurt refreshing, the lines amusing and the Pinkberry jingles annoying. I'll stick with my Jamba Juice.
By the way, my friend Zendi scooped me (pun intended) with her review of Pinkberry, which she posted a few months ago.
News: The taste that launched 1000 parking tickets - Los Angeles Times