I talked by phone with Pinkberry's vice president of marketing, Suzanne Ginestro, and she confirmed the report. A new Pinkberry will open on West End in early October, she said. The address is 2304 West End Ave., part of the former Blockbuster space across from Vanderbilt.
Ginestro said restaurant veteran Kevin Henderson has the franchise rights to open several Pinkberry locations over the next few years. His son Chase will be general manager of the West End store. The younger Henderson is currently learning about all things PInkberry at the company's training headquarters in Los Angeles.
No word yet on other planned Pinkberry locations. Ginestro would only confirm West End, but we hear the Hendersons have been looking in Green Hills, the Gulch and Cool Springs.
Some Bites readers have probably had their fill of frozen yogurt news, but Pinkberry is the highest-profile national player — they helped kick off the whole "tart yogurt" craze five years ago in Los Angeles.
This new wave of frozen yogurt tends to puzzle those who haven't tried it. A major selling point is that most flavors are nonfat, but high-tech equipment generating extremely cold temperatures creates a creamy texture that seems more decadent than it actually is.
Live, active yogurt cultures (the tart factor) are said to have health benefits. Pinkberry stresses its fresh fruit toppings, cut daily, but also offers cookie and candy toppings to make the experience more indulgent.
Pinkberry has used some clever marketing to propel its growth. The upscale interior design, with soothing colors, modern art chairs and a pebble-lined floor, is distinctive. Many people outside Pinkberry's home territory of California and New York learned about the company from a national TV ad for American Express featuring actress Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls.
Early on, Pinkberry developed a cult following, which the company has cultivated by having a Groupies Corner on its website. There's also a blog noting the latest celebrities (including former Nashvillian Reese Witherspoon) seen at Pinkberry.
Pinkberry’s original locations were concentrated in California and New York City, but it’s expanding rapidly. In the South, Atlanta and New Orleans have locations, and a Charlotte, N.C., outpost is expected to open soon.